Lichen Biomonitoring Sites in NCR

Permanent Study Sites in the National Capital Region

Nine NCR Parks included in the study

The nine NCR parks included in the study extend north from Prince William Forest Park through Washington, D.C., along the C and O Canal NHP to Catoctin Mountain Park, MD. They represent a wide range of forested ecosystems in the region and harbor a variety of macrolichen communities. Sites were chosen in areas that have been studied for decades in the region (Rock Creek Park, Great Falls, Plummers Island), and also in new locations to establish a permanent baseline of air quality conditions for the region. A permanent site was also located at Haines Point in NAMA to make use of IMPROVE sampler data available there.

Study methods

At each permanent site location a 20 X 20 m quadrat was established and the following information was obtained:

    • GPS reading
    • dominant vegetation in the plot
    • presence of all tree-inhabiting macrolichens and abundance (abundance scores described here)
    • a sample of a single common lichen Flavoparmelia caperata taken for analysis of potential pollutant elements (S, Hg, Pb, Ni, Cu, Zn)

NCR Lichens Home


Links to Sites:

CHOH Sites

PRWI Sites

CATO Sites

NACE Sites


ROCR Sites

GWMP Sites

HAFE Sites

MANA Sites


NCR map

F caperata

Flavoparmelia caperata
used in elemental analyses. Image © 2006 by Paul Diederich from