In 2009 lichen collections were made at 35 localities in the Brule River State Forest. The species found are typical of the northern Great Lakes area. There were 208
species found including 11 new species for Wisconsin and about 100 new records for
Douglas County. Two sites are recommended for designation as Wisconsin State Natural
Areas because several state records occur there. Complete lists of all collections localities and a list of all species found are appended.
The Brule River State Forest (BRSF) is located in Douglas County in northern
Wisconsin along the Brule River that flows into Lake Superior north of the town of
Brule. The area of about 50,000 acres includes extensive conifer swamps with white
cedar and black spruce. The upland of rolling sand hills has oaks and jack pines. Some of the lowlands along streams and lakes have alder and black ash. Thomson mentioned a few lichens from the BRSF (Thomson 1944) but no other report on the lichens has been
made. The WI DNR report Biotic Inventory and Analysis of the Brule River State Forest
(Epstein et al. 1999) was very useful in planning for good localities for collecting.
John Thomson and some of his students collected many lichens in the BRSF in
the 1940's and 1960's (Bennett & Wetmore 2009) Thomson made at least six collecting
trips to the Brule between 1942 and 1964. The collections are in the Univ. of Wisconsin herbarium (WIS) but only the macro lichens (foliose and fruticose) in WIS are
computerized and only these are commented on here.
In July 2009 this author collected 1049 lichens at 35 localities along the length of
the BRSF in most vegetation types. This report presents the results of this collecting.
There were 208 species in 80 genera found in the Brule in 2009. These include many species common in the upper Great Lakes Area but a few that are uncommon south of Lake Superior. These species include 11 new for Wisconsin marked with @ in Appendix 2 and are listed with the localities in Appendix 3. There are 106 new for Douglas County and are marked with % in Appendix 2. These are based on the maps in Thomson (2003) and subsequent publications. The new state records are also new county records and are included in the new county record count. Some of the new state records are due to narrower species concepts or nomenclatural changes since Thomson's book (Thomson2003) was written.
Several species were the second known records for the state. These are Biatora
longispora, Caloplaca parvula, Catillaria nigroclavata, Chrysothrix candelaris,
Fuscopannaria leucosticta, Hypotrachyna revoluta, Lecanora meridionalis, Normandina
pulchella, Punctelia perreticulata, Phaeocalicium populneum, Strangospora deplanata. and Umbilicaria deusta, and Umbilicaria vellea. Umbilicaria vellea was previously reported but thought to be extinct in Wisconsin but was found at The Promontory.
It has not been possible to recheck all of the specimens in WIS but only a few of
the macro lichens in WIS were not found during the 2009 collecting. Of the macro lichens found by Thomson, only Cetraria aurescens was not found in 2009. Usnea longissima was collected by Larry Rantala in the Brule in 2004 and a voucher is in MIN. In spite of extensive search of the area where Rantala found this species it could not be relocated in 2009. Several other species that were expected but not found are Baeomyces rufus, Cetraria sepincola, Icmadophila ericetorum, Menegazzia terebrata, Parmeliopsis ambigua, and Parmeliopsis hyperopta.
Four of these localities have an unusual number of rare or uncommon lichens and
should be considered for special designation as State Natural Areas in Wisconsin. These
are locality numbers 5 (North Country Trail Barrens), 14 (The Promontory) and 29
(Swamp at south end of Lake Minnesuing), and 30 (Swamp along Brule River at Stone
Chimney Road) in the locality list (Appendix 1 ). Lichen species lists for these localities are available on request.
The localities where lichen collections were made are given in Appendix 1, and the species found are in Appendix 2.