The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of nitrogen fertilizer industry pollution on epiphytic lichen communities. The study plots are located in Scots pine Pinus sylvestris stands at different distances (up to 12 km) to the northeast and southwest of the nitrogen fertilizer producer plant in central Lithuania. The stands were semi-mature and mature and growing on sandy sites of the Vaccinio-myrtillosa site type. Species richness, composition and index of atmospheric purity (IAP) were assessed at each site. Species diversity was calculated by grouping species by their ecological values for eutrophication. Species frequency was calculated according to lichen life strategies (growth forms, photobionts, reproductive strategies). Twenty lichens species were recorded in the surrounding of the pollution source. An increase in species richness and diversity was found with increasing the distance up to 10 km from the plant. Based on IAP values three zones (< 5, 5–10, > 10 km) with different air pollution were distinguished. The increase in species richness was related to the increase in eutrophication-tolerating species along with sensitive to pollution species. The lichen diversity value of nitrophytic species (LDVnitro) increased with increasing distance from the pollution source. Foliose and fruticose growth forms were both positively significantly related with the distance, being common in the plots with lower level of pollution. Crustose lichens are less sensitive to this factor and the prevalence of crustose thalli was found in the nearest vicinity to the plant.
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Vol. 65 • No. 1