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We recently hosted a volunteer event at Whitelee forest, just south of East Kilbride. This event was attended by volunteers from SRUC, ORCS (Oatridge Conservation Volunteers) and lichenologist John Douglass.

Our staff are currently working with John to conduct surveys of some of the nationally significant lichen habitats within the Whitelee forest block.

The day-long event involved practical lichen habitat management with a focus on clearing Sitka spruce regeneration from some of the more sensitive sites at Whitelee. Lichenologist, John Douglass, delivered lichen classification and identification training to volunteers along the way. 

A group of people clearing small spruce trees from a field

Volunteers learning about managing Sitka spruce in open habitats.

The boulder fields at Whitelee, which host over 1,000 boulders of various sizes, were first surveyed in 2005. 

John, who conducted the initial survey almost 20 years ago, is now following up to monitor the changes in the habitat, record fluctuations in the species and to advise us on how we can look after the site going forward in a way that continues to benefit the lichen and bryophyte communities.

An oak tree covered in lichen in a meadow

Close up of oak trunk in photo above supporting a luxuriant lichen flora. Photo taken by John Douglass.

Some of the rare species found at Whitelee

Below are photos taken by John Douglass for the latest lichen survey at Whitelee.

Blue lichen sitting in the grass

Hypotrachyna laevigata fallen from oak in photos above, a new species record for Whitelee.

Brown and yellow lichen on a rock

Umbilicaria polyphylla ‘Rock tripe’ found in the boulder fields.

Coral lichen coming out of a bed of moss on a rock

The Scarlet Caterpillar Club Fungi, Cordyceps militaris found on the boulder fields.

Small coral and green lichen growing on a rock

Pixie cup Cladonia species at Whitelee.