Lichen Biodiversity Index (LBI) for the assessment of air quality in an industrial city in Pahang, Malaysia

Abas A., Asnawi N.H., Aiyub K., Awang A. & Abdullah S.R.
13(11): 1905 [15 p.]
Lichen is a well-documented useful biological indicator for monitoring air pollution using various methods such as the biodiversity of lichens. However, the use of lichen biodiversity to estimate air pollution levels in industrial areas, particularly in Malaysia, is still weak, and the determinants of its diversity are unknown. As a result, the purpose of this research is to analyse air pollution in Malaysia’s industrial urban area using the lichen biodiversity index and its determining factor. This research was carried out at Gebeng, Pahang, Malaysia. A total of 14 sample locations were chosen, each with three replication stations. The Lichen Biodiversity Index (LBI) approach was employed in this study to estimate the degree of air pollution in Gebeng. This study also investigated three potential determinants of lichen biodiversity: carbon monoxide (CO) concentration, relative humidity (%), and vehicle motor frequency (per hour). The LBI was plotted and analysed using the Geographical Information System (GIS) programme ArcGIS 10.8.1, and the determining variables were identified using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient software PAST 4.03. This study discovered a total of 11 lichen species known as metropolitan lichen. The average LBI across Gebeng is 19.5 (moderate alteration). In the industrial region, CO has an inversely significant relation with lichen biodiversity (r = −0.7433), relative humidity has a significant relation with lichen biodiversity (r = 0.8249), and vehicle motors are not significant as a determining factor for lichen biodiversity (r = 0.2068). This study demonstrates that lichen, with its diversity of species in one place, can be utilised to measure and quantify the degree of air pollution in industrial areas. In addition to that, in the context of an industrial city, vehicle motors do not have a significant impact on lichen biodiversity due to the existence of other pollutants sources from industrial activities. Relative humidity is a sign of clean air and humid surroundings, which is good for lichen growth; meanwhile, higher CO concentration will restrict the growth of sensitive-type lichen and will only allow the resistant type of lichen to grow. Keywords: biological indicators; environmental monitoring; environmental management; lichens; urban ecosystem.
Tuesday, 15 November 2022 14:41