Old-growth forests are rare and of conservation concern in Maritime Canada. A variety of methods have been proposed to identify old-growth forests including structural measurements and lichen surveys. Frequency and abundance of Sphaerophorus globosus (Coral Lichen), was measured in 6 old-growth and 6 mature second-growth coniferous forests in Nova Scotia. Total abundance (P = 0.013) and the tree frequency occurrence (P = 0.005) were significantly greater in old-growth forests compared with mature second growth in paired t-tests. We propose the abundance and frequency of occurrence of the easily identifiable lichen Sphaerophorus globosus as an indicator of old-growth forests. Forests with at least 25% of trees having Sphaerophorus globosus growing on them, or meeting the criteria of at least 50 trees/ha with dbh >40 cm and more than 25% of trees with Sphaerophorus globosus, should be studied further as potential candidates for being assigned old-growth forest status.
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Vol. 19 • No. 4