Press release and images on A New Species of Lichen named after Dilmah Founder from Dilmah
In 2014, whilst conducting fieldwork at the high elevations of Dilmah’s Queensberry Estate,
Lichens are an exceptionally valuable species to science because they can act as bio-indicators of air pollution, ozone depletion, and metal contamination due to their extreme sensitivity to environmental changes. They provide scientists with a living and inexpensive means by which to monitor the biggest environmental challenge of our times – climate change. They are referred to as a ‘combined lifeform’ because they are comprised of two to three different organisms - a fungus, and an algae and/or cyanobacterium, that cooperate to grow and survive. They can be found growing on many different surfaces from coastal rocks to tree barks in forests across Sri Lanka and like plants, can photosynthesize and convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to oxygen. Even though they are considered to play a vital ecological role, their unassuming ubiquitous presence in Sri Lanka, coupled with the dearth of available scientific knowledge on the subject in the country, means that they often go ignored and underappreciated.
The Dilmah Conservation Novel Species Program was initiated to drive research and awareness on Sri Lanka’s less charismatic but no less important threatened species. The program fuels research on vulnerable species lacking scientific data and undertakes awareness-raising campaigns in Sri Lanka. To address the lack of available scientific information on Sri Lanka’s diverse and beautiful lichens, Dilmah Conservation published an illustrated book authored by Dr. Gothamie Weerakoon on the ‘Fascinating Lichens of Sri Lanka’ in 2015 and hosts frequent workshops and lectures conducted by Dr. Weerakoon and other leading international experts in the field to educate individuals interested in learning more about these unique lifeforms.
Dilmah Conservation is the environmental arm of the MJF group and was founded in 2007 as an extension of Dilmah’s commitment to ensuring that all its operations are bound by a respectful and sustainable interaction with the natural environment.
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