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The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife$
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Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226871714

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226871745.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Patterns in Wisconsin Lichen Diversity

Patterns in Wisconsin Lichen Diversity

Chapter:
(p.127) 10 Patterns in Wisconsin Lichen Diversity
Source:
The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin's Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife
Author(s):

James P. Bennett

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226871745.003.0010

One hundred and fifty years ago, anyone traveling cross-country in Wisconsin found lichens growing in abundance. Today, the only abundant lichens are weedy species on the trunks and branches of hardwoods and some rocks. A common theme in this book is the “missing baseline” problem—that without data on how abundant species were in the past and how they were distributed we cannot infer changes in their distribution and abundance. This chapter explores the “missing data” problem in detail, highlighting how little is actually known about the state's lichen flora. It suggests that scientists have only identified 85% of the species that occur in the state. In undercollected areas of the state, we may never know what once existed. Our ignorance also creates an ironic paradox: our lichen flora may continue to lose species even as our knowledge of the lichen flora and species lists grow.

Keywords:   missing data, abundance, diversity, lichen flora

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