Blog for 2009-07-09

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Maliau Hike Day 2: Running fast………

Today we started hiking from Camel Trophy camp at 10 AM. It such a miracle that I could do the hike very fast, compared to the usual speed that I have which is super slow. Before left the heath forest, Professor Webb gave a brief explanation about some unique species that grow in the heath forest such as Tristania and blueberry. Heath forest represented by Rhododendron, orchid, Nepenthes, and some conifers called Agathis and celery pine.

The amazing thing that absolutely attracted me was lichens that grow in heath forest. Although providing poor environment conditions for higher plants, the good air quality and high altitude supporting many kinds of lichens. I found some species of Cladonia, including the British soldier (or related to that species) that usually can survive in cold and higher places. There were also some species of Parmeliaceae, one of the larger families of lichens, that grows on branches and twigs. Fruticose lichens like Usnea also appear but not dominated. Mosses grow like carpet and formed awesome structure over the rocks or dead logs. Because the path is mostly flat, I could walked very fast and reach another type of forest which is mixed-Dipterocarps. Through a steep slope, we were climbing down and reached Ginseng camp at 2PM.

Cladonia sp. with the red apothecia.