Although often given little attention in vegetation studies, ground dwelling lichens form a prominent vegetation type in many high latitude ecosystems. In particular, changes in biomass of mat-forming pale lichens has the potential to affect not only vegetation, fauna and human activities related to reindeer husbandry but also climate (due to their high albedo). In contrast to green vegetation however, the complex spectral signal of lichens has, so far, prevented the development of remote sensing techniques to accurately assess lichen biomass. In this talk I will present a new, high resolution, satellite based remote sensing model developed using cutting edge deep neural networks, trained with ground data collected for more than 20 years. Based on the back catalogue of the LANDSAT program (>35 years), we can quantify recent historic dynamics in lichen abundance across large scales and expand our knowledge in the ecological and climatic consequences of changes in lichen abundance.