Lichens are an important component of biological diversity and are sensitive indicators of air quality and climate. Despite their ecological importance in southwest Alaska, there is a general lack of information regarding lichen occurrence. To address this information need, the Southwest Alaska Network partnered with Oregon State University (OSU) to conduct a lichen inventory of its three largest units: Katmai National Park and Preserve, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and Kenai Fjords National Park.
Under the guidance of OSU and the NPS, a team of lichenologists from North America and Europe conducted fieldwork during the 2013-2016 summer seasons. They surveyed sites throughout each park that were selected by NPS botanists to span a range of rich lichen habitats, including coastal rock outcrops and forests; large interior lake, river and forest systems; and interior and coastal alpine zones.