What is the significance of lichens in nature and human life?
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of lichens in natureand human life. In fact, despite their tiny size, they are the most important element in the ecosystem of the Earth. Moreover, over the long years of research, man has learned to use lichens in various spheres of production.
But, unfortunately, not many are capable of boastingthat they are familiar with this amazing family of plants. In order to correct this, let's talk about the true meaning of lichens in nature and human life.
What is a lichen?
Lichen is an amazing symbiosis of fungi andseaweed. In this case, lichens have absorbed the best qualities of both families. They absorb water fairly quickly, as it is characteristic of fungi, and the genes of algae provide them with a mechanism for photosynthesis. That is why the lichen is unpretentious to the habitat and can survive even in the harshest climate.
But what is the significance of lichens in nature andhuman life? It should start with the fact that these plants significantly affect their own habitat. This is due to the fact that lichenic acid partially destroys the surface, thereby lowering its density and allowing to break through to the light to weaker plants.
Ecological significance of lichens in nature and in human life
Like any plant, lichens recycleCarbon dioxide, while releasing oxygen. This fact becomes even more important if we take into account that these plants do not feel bad in those parts of the world where others simply do not survive.
Lichens are also excellent biosensors. They react instantly to air pollution. Therefore, scientists studying the ecological situation in the region first take samples of lichens for analysis. In addition, these plants retain heavy metals within themselves, and consequently, even small flashes of radiation can be detected by them.
The practical importance of lichens in nature and human life
Lichens are a source of carbohydrates for manyanimals. For example, wild goats are very fond of this delicacy, so they wander from place to place in his search. In the North, where the winter lasts a very long time, lichens became the basis of a diet for such animals as moose, deer, wild boar.
But among people there are those who do not mindto enjoy this representative of the flora. True, not every kind of lichen can be used for this purpose. So, the lichen manna is considered edible, and also the gyro. The latter, by the way, is the basis for many Japanese dishes.
The industrial significance of lichens
So, the role of lichens in nature and human lifeis very clear, but what about the industrial side of the issue? Probably, it's not a secret for anyone that in recent years this plant has been actively used in many industries.
So, oak moss and plum avernum are added to perfumes in order to give them special notes. And some lichen varieties are used to create paints. The reason for this is the same property of retaining metals.
But more importantly, what many of them domedications. For example, parmelia is used to prepare a medicine for epilepsy, Icelandic moss helps with poisoning, and the lobaria relieves pneumonia. In addition, some lichen varieties have antibacterial properties.