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Lichen a top nitrogen fixer and CO2 binder

 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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posted this in the SW forum, but everyone should be aware of it.

http://phys.org/news/2012-06-algae-lichens-mosses-huge-amounts.html
 
Leila Rich
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What looks cool, dyes things, propagates plants and saves the world?
Permaculturalists, algae, moss and lichen...
 
Isaac Hill
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Excellent! This makes so much sense, fills in a couple puzzle pieces...
 
Morgan Morrigan
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i remember seeing an article that said you could replicate lichen for fireplace cracks by mixing some up in milk, then spraying it on concrete !

anyone heard of any other ways?
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:i remember seeing an article that said you could replicate lichen for fireplace cracks by mixing some up in milk, then spraying it on concrete !

anyone heard of any other ways?


I believe if you add a bit of manure it helps to speed it along.
 
garrett lacey
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Thanks! Great info.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Morgan Morrigan
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possibly why you still have such good soil up there.

Should be blasted out rainforest soil by now....

Am going to start using rock mulches here instead of trying to grow the biomass.
Will just spray em w lichen starter, and will host more predators, that growing prey.
 
Gordon Hogenson
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I have known that Usnea lichens (common in the crowns of Black Cottonwood here in the Pacific Northwest) fix nitrogen, but does anyone know if these new studies suggest that ALL lichens fix nitrogen, or just certain ones?
 
Gordon Hogenson
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From what I can tell, Usnea does not fix nitrogen. Apparently, the key is whether the lichen incorporates cyanobacteria (blue green algae). Usnea forms an association with an alga but not a blue-green alga. Lobaria, another common large lichen, does fix nitrogen.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Paulo Bessa
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Of course I knew that most lichens would fix nitrogen.

Here in Iceland, new land is continuously formed by volcanic eruptions. After lava cools down, the ground is just bare rock that is quickly colonized by lichens. Other plants take decades to establish but they do establish, growing almost in pure sand and shatered rock. How do plants like thyme and blueberries can grow in such bare rock and sand? Because lichens have "fertilized" it before. The process probably takes decades! Otherwise you would have to assume all those pioneer plants also fix nitrogen.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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a little more after the paper was presented , w a map.

and click the link over on the right about the dangers of breaking up the crusts...


geodermatophilia.blogspot.com/2012/08/score-one-for-little-guys-cryptogam.html?utm_cource=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Geodermatophilia+(Geodermatophilia)
 
Devon Olsen
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whats more?
all but two species of lichen are edible WITH PROPER PREPERATION and contain more carbohydrates than most other foods you'll find
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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I just found this page very informative.

http://www.unomaha.edu/lichens/Bio%204350%20PDF/Uses%20of%20Lichens.pdf

I'm just thinking as I write here.
So here's my question should I allow them to grow all over my fruit trees. Normally I try to break at least some of them off. I thought they were bad for the trees but I guess in the long run there good for the forest if not for the trees. I'm sure the ones I pulled off made good mulch.

I wonder how long it will take them to gain a good foot hold again and if there are any easy ways to boost there growth. I think a thin sprinkling of some kinds of wood chips would provide habitat for more lichens in my food forests. I also wonder what would produce more animal fodder per m2 on a shady forest floor regular plants or lichens and such. Come to think of it they can grow even in the shade of the under-story plants can't they so lichens would have to make it more productive even though they are hard to collect in quantity and are slow growing.

 
Kota Dubois
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My forest is comprised of (mostly) mature trees and their trunks are covered with a vast array of different lichens and mosses, especially where they receive a lot of light. I have noticed that after a dry period and we get a heavy driving rain, the water flowing off the trunks is covered with bubbles which accumulate like piles of soap at the base of the trunk. I always thought that this was weird since we associate it with phosphorus. I've seen this phenomenon in my burbling brook as well. ( there is no one upstream from me) but i've always put it down to organic matter falling into the water. Now I'm going to have to observe and ponder with new eyes. Any thoughts?
 
Morgan Morrigan
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if you have a el cheapo NPK test tubes, might be interesting to see how much the water is pumped up coming off the tree trunks.....


is the nitrogen in the rain a nitrate or nitrite ?
 
Tristan Vitali
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:if you have a el cheapo NPK test tubes, might be interesting to see how much the water is pumped up coming off the tree trunks.....


is the nitrogen in the rain a nitrate or nitrite ?


resuscitating this one for dang good reason - anyone every get to the bottom of this (specifically above) ?

anyone working with cultivating more blue-green algae in their forests, etc, and if so, what seems to be working?

my immediate thoughts when reading this is that using lots of smaller ponds, many in shaded areas, lined with rocks would lead to a high occurrence of lichens that work symbiotically with the algae, helping to fix more nitrogen for the plants in and amongst the rocks

definitely something I'd love to hear more on if anyone's gone down this route
 
Devon Olsen
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im not doing this yet, and i dont yet have a pond, but i plan to eventually make lichens an integral part of the property, especially those species that are traditionally edible, medicinal and useful

now if only i could figure out where to get "spores" or slurries of any kind...
 
Marc Troyka
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I'm surprised that lichen would make up any significant fraction of N fixation given how slowly most lichens grow. I see them fall out of the trees in the backyard frequently when it rains, especially after heavy storms. Ants and things tend to eat them up quickly when they fall. My understanding is that lichens have no effect on trees that they happen to grow on, so lichens on fruit trees should not cause any trouble.

I wouldn't add compost or compost tea for growing lichens or moss. They've evolved to survive on zero nutrients, getting all their needs from air and rainwater. Lichens and moss accelerate the breakdown of rocks and things, but they don't actually get any nutrients from them that I am aware.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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more lichen goodness

http://www.anbg.gov.au/lichen/

http://biologicalexceptions.blogspot.com/2012/03/more-than-sum-of-its-parts.html

http://californialichens.org/

still am not finding anything about runoff. there is a page on the first link about their chemistry, including secondary metabolites, but no mention of nitrogen.
Think there is at least one paper on cryptographic soils, but that isn't what we are after here

a science paper on mineral runoff, but not quite what we were after

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009254111004086

a couple PDFs down on the left might be helpful

http://nhc.asu.edu/lherbarium/

and the desert varnish pages
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/pljan98.htm
 
Marc Troyka
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Hrm, well I decided to scrounge google scholar and see if I couldn't pull up anything specific. The closest I've found thus far was this paper, which basically suggests that N fixation by legumes (both trees and herbs) is about an order of magnitude greater than N fixation by all other sources combined, on average. That was more or less what I would have assumed, and this was a meta-study that covers a lot of data from somewhere around 50 individual studies.

Also, for trees like black locust and honey locust, N contribution from leaf litter seems to be most important, and is quite large.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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leaf litter is prob leaf mold conversion by hosts.

since the original report surprised so many folks, doubt anyone has even attempted to compare.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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looks like the N can vary, depending on pollutants in the area.

http://www.lichens.ie/lichen-ecology/nitrogen-fixation/

http://www.lichenreader.com/2011/12/ir-spectroscopic-study-of-chemical.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20096494

java applet for metabolites. i didn't check this

http://liaslight.lias.net/Identification/Navikey/Metabolites/index.html

 
Elizabeth Kokkonen
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I am so glad I found this post. I have a rock island. Main goal is to build biomass and use the available moss and lichen.. My question is for morgan morison... Why stop wanting to build Bio Mass and if you have had success with the rock mulching.

This season I will try to plant my trees and other peranials near where the lichen and mosses are. Add branches and mulches and hold back on the soil. I find adding bagged soil screws with the moss and lichen. That's why the idea of mimicking our forest's sub floor texture appeals to me. Plus I am sick of carrying bags of soil to the island.


E
 
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