The diversity of Indian lichen flora has undergone a considerable decline in the last five decades. Among the various anthropogenic activities, overexploitation and selective removal of economically important lichens have become major threats to the lichen flora of the country. Commercial samples of lichens collected from different states of India were studied for their source and commercial use. Among samples offered for sale, 38 different lichen species were identified. The western Himalayas proved to be the main area for lichen collection, while some lichen species also come from the central and Western Ghats. Local traders coordinate the lichen collection and then sell the material to traders in the foothills, and from there it is processed and distributed to other parts of the country and abroad. Because lichens belonging to the families Parmeliaceae and Physciaceae are the ones most exploited commercially, they are recommended for inclusion in the CITES list.
Key WordsLichen commercial and ethnic use conservation
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