Environmental Pollution, Vol. 114 (3) (2001) pp. 471-492
© 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S0269-7491(00)00224-4

Biological monitoring: lichens as bioindicators of air pollution assessment  [--] a review
M.E. Conti a * contim@uniroma1.it and G. Cecchetti b

a Dipartimento di Controllo e Gestione delle Merci e del loro Impatto sull'Ambiente, Facoltà di Economia, Università "La Sapienza", Via Del Castro Laurenziano 9, 00161 Rome, Italy
b Facoltà di Scienze Ambientali, Università degli Studi di Urbino, ex Sogesta, Località Crocicchia, 61029, Urbino, Italy

Received 24 March 2000; accepted 1 November 2000

Lichen species may be used as biological monitors for environmental prevention programs.


Often as part of environmental impact studies and, above all, to obtain authorisations in accordance with prescriptions from the Ministry for the Environment (Italy), surveys and controls that use biological indicators are required. This is because such indicators are valid instruments for evaluating the quality of the air ensuing from the subject (often an industrial plant) of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). In this context, this paper aims to analyse some of the theoretical aspects of biological monitoring and to provide a progress report on the use of lichens as bioindicators of air quality, with a particular eye to the situation in Italy. The object of this paper is that of pointing out the most important lines in the current state of knowledge in this field, evaluating the methodological applications and their advantages/disadvantages with respect to traditional surveying methods.

Keywords: Lichens; Biological monitoring; Air pollution; Environmental impact assessment; Italy

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +396-4976-6516; fax: +396-4452-251

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