THE LICHEN SYNTAXA IN THE CHECKLIST OF HIGHER SYNTAXA OF EUROPE – AN OVERVIEW AND WHAT WE CAN DO WITH THEM
Keywords:BIOINDICATION, COMPLEXITY, CRYPTOGAMS, MICROCOMMUNITIES, SYNUSIAE, VEGETATION.
A Checklist of Higher Syntaxa of Europe includes lichen syntaxa from the eulittoral to the nival zone, in all 15 classes, 29 orders and 56 alliances of lichen syntaxa and two mixed lichen/bryophyte classes with 12 lichen alliances. Syntaxa diversity is highest for rock substrates, followed by bark, then soil, which corresponds with species diversity of lichens. The most important habitat factors to explain floristic differences on class level are type of substrate and source of moisture. The evaluation of the state of research shows a rather well established system of cryptogam syntaxa, however with gaps in the knowledge of the distribution of syntaxa. The epiphytic vegetation is dynamic due to changes in air pollution (less SO2, more nutrients) and global change. Formal problems with the terms synusiae/microcommunities are discussed. Lichens are established as bioindicators. Species and syntaxa can help to screen air purity, forest quality, water quality, global change and also microhabitat factors . Cryptogam syntaxa are especially suited to explain complexity of the vegetation on the microhabitat level.