Recovery Strategy for the Vole Ears Lichen (Erioderma mollissimum) in Canada [Proposed] - 2014

Species at Risk Act
Recovery Strategy Series

Vole Ears Lichen

Vole Ears Lichen

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Executive Summary
Recovery Feasibility Summary

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Document Information

Vole Ears Lichen

Recommended citation:

Environment Canada. 2014. Recovery Strategy for the Vole Ears Lichen (Erioderma mollissimum) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. v + 27 pp.

For copies of the recovery strategy, or for additional information on species at risk, including COSEWIC Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry.

Cover photo: Vole Ears Lichen - Frances Anderson

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Programme de rétablissement de l’érioderme mou (Erioderma mollissimum) au Canada [Proposition] »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2014. All rights reserved.
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Catalogue no.

Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.

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Preface

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened species and are required to report on progress within five years.

The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for the recovery of the Vole Ears Lichen and has prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with the Provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia and others as per section 39(1) of SARA.

Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by Environment Canada, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Vole Ears Lichen and Canadian society as a whole.

This recovery strategy will be followed by one or more action plans that will provide information on recovery measures to be taken by Environment Canada and other jurisdictions and/or organizations involved in the conservation of the species. Implementation of this strategy is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.

Acknowledgments

This recovery strategy was prepared by Julie McKnight (Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service) and Rob Cameron (Nova Scotia – Environment) with extensive input from Mark Elderkin (Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources), Maureen Toner (New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources), Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources Lichen Working Group. The efforts and contributions of the Nova Scotia Cyanolichen Recovery Team are gratefully acknowledged.

Executive Summary

Vole Ears Lichen is a large (up to 12 cm broad), leafy lichen with a felty, grey-brown upper surface that turns grey-green when moistened.  

As of January 2012, Vole Ears Lichen was known from two populations at 29 sites along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia comprised of 153 adult thalli and from one population at six sites on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador that had 26 adult thalli. The last report of Vole Ears Lichen in New Brunswick was from 1980. The species is listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).

One of the most important requirements for cyanolichens is the need for a clean environment including pollutant-free air and precipitation that is free of acidifying contaminants. Acid precipitation may negatively impact the colonisation and survival of Vole Ears Lichen in areas that receive significant and continued acid deposition. In addition to air pollution, Vole Ears Lichen is threatened by tree harvesting and forestry activities, road construction, housing/cottage development, climate change, and herbivory.

There are unknowns regarding the feasibility of recovery of Vole Ears Lichen. In keeping with the precautionary principle, this recovery strategy has been prepared as per section 41(1) of SARA, as would be done when recovery is determined to be feasible. The population and distribution objectives are to ensure that the species’ known range (2012) and the health and stability of the three known populations (2012) are not impacted by habitat loss, degradation, biological resource use of the species’ host tree, or invasive gastropods. Broad strategies to be taken to address the threats to the survival and recovery of Vole Ears Lichen are presented in the section on Strategic Direction for Recovery (Section 6.2).

Critical habitat for Vole Ears Lichen is partially identified in this document based on the best available data.  Critical habitat for Vole Ears Lichen is located entirely on non-federal land. As more information becomes available, additional critical habitat may be identified.

One or more action plan for Vole Ears Lichen will be completed within three years of the final version of this recovery strategy being posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Recovery Feasibility Summary

Based on the following four criteria outlined in the draft SARA Policies (Government of Canada 2009), there are unknowns regarding the feasibility of recovery of the Vole Ears Lichen.  In keeping with the precautionary principle, a recovery strategy has been prepared as per section 41(1) of SARA, as would be done when recovery is determined to be feasible.  This recovery strategy addresses the unknowns surrounding the feasibility of recovery.

  1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.

    Yes.  In North America, Vole Ears Lichen is known to occur in the Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee and North Carolina), and in foggy, coastal areas of Atlantic Canada. Vegetative reproduction is either through fragmentation or specialized structures called soredia. However, lichen soredia have a limited dispersal capability; dispersal is likely not more than hundreds of meters and fragmentation provides dispersal, but only on the same host tree as the parent. Unaided immigration is thus very unlikely.

  2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.

    Unknown.  It is unknown whether sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species, or could be made available through habitat management or restoration. Air pollution and forestry management practices are the primary threats to Vole Ears Lichen habitat. Although habitat still exists in the form of mature/over-mature forests, air pollution affects this habitat by reducing a host tree’s bark buffering capacity and increasing its acidity (Farmer et al 1991).

    Best forest management practices that protect lichens have emerged and have received some support from the industry in recovery work on a similar species, the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum). These may lead to practical recommendations for best management practices in the vicinity of Vole Ears Lichen habitat and unoccupied potential sites.

  3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.

    Unknown. Air pollution anThe primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated. d forest harvesting (and associated activities such as tree harvesting, clear cutting, large scale harvesting, and road building) are the primary threats to Vole Ears Lichen and its habitat.

    Cyanolichens are extremely sensitive to air pollution and acid precipitation (Richardson & Cameron 2004) due to their reliance on airborne nutrients and water, as well as lack of protective structures (Richardson & Cameron 2004).  Sulphur dioxide (SO2) dissolved in precipitation, water films, or within moist lichen thalli is highly toxic to cyanolichens and is most toxic under acidic conditions.  Vole Ears Lichen may benefit from pollution prevention campaigns and industrial technologies that reduce emissions.  However, despite such initiatives, air quality problems are anticipated to continue to be problem for the next 20 to 50 years and Environment Canada (2003) reports that growth in air pollution sources has the potential to outpace any gains made in recent years.  At present, many areas in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, to a lesser extent, Newfoundland and Labrador, receive acid deposition in excess of critical loads.  The amount of acid deposition that a habitat can tolerate without being significantly harmed is known as its critical load (COSEWIC 2009).  Future industrial developments may further negatively impact Vole Ears Lichen and its habitat.

    Formal and informal partnerships with industry, scientists, municipal governments, federal/provincial governments, conservation organizations, land owners, and the public may help achieve the long-term conservation and recovery of the Vole Ears Lichen.

    International agreements, national commitments, and legislation may all contribute to sustainable forestry practices and the conservation of Vole Ears Lichen through threat reduction/mitigation.  In some areas, the forestry industry has taken an interest in the protection of a similar endangered lichen, the Atlantic population of Boreal Felt Lichen, and their input may lead to practical recommendations for best management practices in the vicinity of Vole Ears Lichen habitat and unoccupied potential sites.

  4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.

    Yes.  Some success has been achieved in transplanting Boreal Felt Lichen, Boreal population in Newfoundland and Labrador (The Gossan 2010). It is reasonable to assume that this recovery technique may be a viable option for Vole Ears Lichen, should it be required.

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1. COSEWIC* Species Assessment Information

Date of Assessment: November 2009

Common Name (population): Lichen, Vole Ears 

Scientific Name: Erioderma mollissimum

COSEWIC Status: Endangered

Reason for Designation: This large foliose lichen is known in Canada only from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the island of Newfoundland, where it inhabits cool, humid and coastal conifer forests dominated by Balsam Fir. Although there are 24 known sites for the lichen in these regions, few individuals (133 thalli) are known. While recent surveys have increased the number of known locations, the lichen has been extirpated from 11 sites in the last 30 years. This lichen is a sensitive indicator of air pollution and acid precipitation, which are its main threats. Other threats include forest harvest and browsing by moose.

Canadian Occurrence: NB, NS, NL

COSEWIC Status History: Designated Endangered in November 2009

*COSEWIC = Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

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2. Species Status Information

Table 1. Description of various conservation status ranks for the Vole Ears Lichen (NatureServe, 2011).
Vole Ears LichenGlobal
(G) Rank
National (N) RankSubnational (S) RankCOSEWIC StatusSARA Status
(Erioderma mollissimum)G4 apparently secureN1N2
critically imperiled/ imperiled
NB (S1)
critically imperiled
NS (S1S2)
critically imperiled/ imperiled
NL (S1)
critically imperiled
EdangeredEndangered

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3. Species Information

3.1 Species Description

Vole Ears Lichenis a large leafy lichen with a felty, grey-brown upper surface that turns grey-green when moistened. The thallus is up to 12 cm broad and is comprised of radiating, loosely attached lobes up to 1 cm in width.  The lower surface lacks an outer protective layer, and except near the pale, bare margins is densely hairy and light-brown. Granular, bluish vegetative reproductive structures are produced along the lobe margins and may also form in tiny patches on the upper surface of older lobes. Vole Ears Lichen can sometimes be found growing in clusters of individuals that result from fragmentation or regeneration close to the parent thallus.

The photosynthetic component of this lichen has been identified as Scytonema, a cyanobacterium that is considered rare in lichens occurring north of subtropical regions.  Nevertheless, Scytonema is also found in other lichens, including Coccocarpia palmicola and Lichinodium sirosiphoideum, that are often found in the same habitats as Vole Ears Lichen.

3.2 Population and Distribution

Vole Ears Lichen has a highly disjunct global range and occurs mostly in tropical and subtropical cloud forests. It has been recorded in Central and South America, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, and Brazil (Jørgensen & Arvidsson 2001).   It occurs more rarely on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Portugal, Spain, the Azores, and the Canary Islands and is known to occur in the mountains of Kenya in East Africa.  In North America, it has been recorded in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, and the coastal region of Atlantic Canada.

Evidence suggests a possible decline in the Canadian population, particularly in Nova Scotia where at least 80% of sites documented in the 1980s no longer support the lichen. As of January 2012, Vole Ears Lichen was known from two populations at 29 sites along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia totaling 153 adults and 23 juveniles. In 2012, Vole Ears Lichen was confirmed to exist on 10 trees at six sites on the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador totalling 26 adults and 30 juveniles. The last report of Vole Ears Lichen in New Brunswick was from 1980 and has not been relocated at that site despite recent searches; however, it may still occur in the province in small numbers.

A GIS-based predicted distribution model was developed for Vole Ears Lichen in Eastern Canada and results suggest that the population size and distribution of Vole Ears Lichen may be larger than is currently known (COSEWIC 2009).

Figure 1. Distribution of Vole Ears Lichen in Canada (as of January 2012).
Figure 1

Long description for figure 1

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Table 2. Distribution details of Vole Ears Lichen in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Sites in Nova Scotia are derived from locations with separation distances of greater than 0.5 km based on expected dispersal distances and historical predicted habitat distances. The number of phorophytes (host trees) was not documented at all sites and this is denoted as n.d.
Population NameSiteYear of discoveryMost recent surveyNumber of phorophytesNumber of Juvenile thalliNumber of Adult thalli
Avalon (NL)Halls Gullies 120072012121
Avalon (NL)Halls Gullies 22007201212113
Avalon (NL)Halls Gullies 320072012446
Avalon (NL)Halls Gullies 420082012111
Avalon (NL)Halls Gullies 520082012101
Avalon (NL)South East Placentia20072012224
South Shore (NS)Blandford20062011n.d.05
South Shore (NS)Bon Mature Lake20082008101
South Shore (NS)Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren[1]20082011> 9029
South Shore (NS)Clyde River Road120082008n.d.01
South Shore (NS)Clyde River Road220082008n.d.01
South Shore (NS)Duck Hole20102010101
South Shore (NS)Four Mile Brook20072007n.d.06
South Shore (NS)Fresh Water Brook20112011202
South Shore (NS)Haley Lake19812008n.d.07
South Shore (NS)Johnstons Pond20112011101
South Shore (NS)Jones Harbour20082008n.d.02
South Shore (NS)Jordan River20112011101
South Shore (NS)Lake John Road[2]20072007n.d.222
South Shore (NS)Martin Brook20082008n.d.01
South Shore (NS)Misery Lake20112011202
South Shore (NS)Misery Lake Brook20102010101
South Shore (NS)Oakhill20112011101
South Shore (NS)Port L'Hebert20082008n.d.11
South Shore (NS)Pumpkinvine Brook20102010101
South Shore (NS)Robarts Pond20082008n.d.01
South Shore (NS)Robs Lake20092009404
South Shore (NS)Thomas Raddall, Provincial Park19802008n.d.1132
South Shore (NS)Tidney20102010101
Eastern Shore (NS)Bear Lake20062007n.d.02
Eastern Shore (NS)Burnt Hill Lake Brook20102010202
Eastern Shore (NS)Dooks Pond20052007n.d.04
Eastern Shore (NS)Fuller Lake20062007n.d.88
Eastern Shore (NS)Otter Pond20062007n.d.16
Eastern Shore (NS)Webber Lake20072007n.d.07

[1] This site corresponds to occurrences Lake John Road1 & Lake John Road 2 as stated in the 2010 COSEWIC status report.
[2] This site corresponds to occurrences Canada Hill 1 & Canada Hill 2 as stated in the 2010 COSEWIC status report, and has expanded following the discovery of new Vole Ears thalli.

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3.3 Needs of the Vole Ears Lichen

In Atlantic Canada, the species occurs within 30 km of the coast at elevations less than 200 m where it experiences warm winters and cool summers. These highly humid coastal forests receive large amounts of moisture in the form of fog and rain, which is often in excess of 1400 mm annually (COSEWIC 2009, Davis and Browne 1996). Vole Ears Lichen is often found in, or very near to, wetlands. A wetland is land that is either periodically or permanently saturated with water and sustains aquatic processes (interpreted from NS Wetland Conservation Policy 2011; refer to Appendix C for provincial definitions).

In the Boreal Forest Region in Newfoundland, Vole Ears Lichen is found in mature to overmature coniferous forest patches dominated by Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) of even ages with characteristically varying tree diameters. These patches occur on flat to gently sloping, imperfectly- to poorly-drained sites in close proximity to wetlands as part of a fragmented landscape which includes coniferous stands in different age classes. Preliminary observations of Vole Ears Lichen in Newfoundland, suggest that it may be found on particularly slow growing trees, however the significance of these observations with respect to its habitat requirements is unknown. In the Acadian Forest Region in Nova Scotia, Vole Ears Lichen is most often found in poorly drained depressions with mature coniferous or mixed forests dominated by Balsam Fir and/or Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and/or Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis), where Sphagnum species cover the ground. In New Brunswick, one thallus was found on a moss–covered rock.

One of the most important habitat requirements for cyanolichens is the need for a clean environment including pollutant-free air and precipitation that is free of acidifying contaminants. Cyanolichens are particularly sensitive to acid rain, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (Gilbert 1986, Hallingback 1989, Hawksworth and Rose 1970, Sigal and Johnston 1986).  Maass and Yetman (2002) partially attribute the decline in Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) in Atlantic Canada to acid rain and air pollution.

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4. Threats

4.1 Threat Assessment

Table 3. Threat Assessment Table. Accessible version of Table 3
General ThreatLevel of Concern[1]ExtentOccurrenceFrequencySeverity[2]Causal Certainty[3]
Pollution
Air pollutionHighWidespreadCurrent & AnticipatedContinuousHighHigh
Habitat Loss or Degradation
Tree harvesting and forestry activitiesHighWidespreadCurrent & AnticipatedRecurrentHighHigh
Road constructionMediumWidespreadCurrent & AnticipatedOne-timeHighMedium
Housing/ cottage developmentMediumUnknownAnticipatedOne-timeHighMedium
Climate and Natural Disasters
Climate changeMediumWidespreadCurrent & AnticipatedRecurrentUnknownMedium
Exotic Invasive or Introduced species
HerbivoryMediumLocalizedCurrent & anticipatedContinuous / SeasonalMediumLow

[1] Level of Concern: signifies that managing the threat is of (high, medium or low) concern for the recovery of the species, consistent with the population and distribution objectives. This criterion considers the assessment of all the information in the table.
[2] Severity: reflects the population-level effect (High: very large population-level effect, Moderate, Low, Unknown).
[3] Causal certainty: reflects the degree of evidence that is known for the threat (High: available evidence strongly links the threat to stresses on population viability; Medium: there is a correlation between the threat and population viability e.g. expert opinion; Low: the threat is assumed or plausible).

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4.2 Description of Threats

Air pollution

Cyanolichens are extremely sensitive to air pollution and acid precipitation due to their reliance on airborne nutrients and water, as well as their lack of protective structures (Richardson & Cameron 2004). Sulphur dioxide (SO2) dissolved in precipitation, water films, or within moist lichen thalli is highly toxic to cyanolichens and is most toxic under acidic conditions. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted during the high temperature burning of coal or oil remain in the atmosphere for relatively long periods of time before being washed out by rain and forming acid rain. Acid rain is a combination of sulphuric acid and nitric acid formed from the nitrogen oxides. It is the hydrogen ion component of acid rain that is toxic; it affects cell membranes, leaches metals such as calcium from the lichen, and acidifies the substrata of the host (Richardson 2008). Continued exposure to acid precipitation eventually results in the buffering capacity of the substratum being exceeded so that it becomes too acid for cyanolichens, especially for very young thalli to thrive (Nieboer et al., 1984).

Vole Ears Lichen may benefit from pollution prevention campaigns and industrial technologies that reduce emissions. However, despite such initiatives, air quality problems are anticipated to continue for the next 20 to 50 years and Environment Canada (2003) reports that growth in air pollution sources has the potential to outpace any gains made in recent years. At present, many areas in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, to a lesser extent, Newfoundland and Labrador, receive acid deposition in excess of critical loads. The amount of acid deposition that a habitat can tolerate without being significantly harmed is known as its critical load (COSEWIC 2009).  Future industrial developments may further negatively impact the habitat for Vole Ears Lichen.

Tree Harvesting and Forestry Activities

Besides acid precipitation, forestry activities are considered the other major threat to the species. Forestry practices such as clear cutting or harvesting on a large scale may cause fragmentation and would alter biodiversity and age class structure of potential Vole Ears Lichen habitat.  Scheduling of forest harvesting affects habitat availability and, where forest succession is known, can be used to provide mid-term and long-term habitat inputs for modelling exercises. The effect of forest fragmentation on epiphytic lichens has been the subject of much work (Esseen and Renhorn 1998; Rheault et al. 2003; Pykälä 2004; Richardson and Cameron 2004). When lichens are suddenly at the edge of a forest or in a fragmented forest, there is a reduction in dispersal ability and opportunity to recolonize in cutover areas (Rheault et al. 2003). Large-scale logging can increase wind and drying effects (Hunter 1990) and greatly reduce the ability of a forest stand to buffer against times of low humidity while at particular seral stages (Maass and Yetman 2002).

Road Construction and Housing/Cottage Development

The development of land for activities such as industry, residences, and agriculture creates disturbance, landscape alterations, and affects micro-climates of nearby forests. New road development may alter the landscape hydrology (Cameron 2006) and also provide access to remote areas that may foster the expansion of cottage county (Maass and Yetman 2002).

Climate change

Preliminary analyses along the Atlantic coast suggest a significant decline in fog frequency in Nova Scotia and the Avalon Peninsula of southeastern Newfoundland and Labrador over the past few decades (Beauchamp et al. 1998, Muraca et al. 2001). Vole Ears Lichen, like several other cyanolichens that mainly occur in coastal fog forests, is very drought–sensitive, and could be negatively impacted if a decline in fog occurs.

Herbivory

Since the arrival of Europeans, there have been both deliberate and accidental introductions of animal species. The following species are implicated in successional changes to forest composition in Newfoundland and were all introduced: Red-backed Voles (Clethrionomys gapperi), Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) and Moose (Alces alces) (McLaren et al. 2009; McLaren et al. 2004). Moose were introduced to the island of Newfoundland in 1878 and 1904 and the population quickly expanded; densities are currently much higher than elsewhere in North America. Balsam Fir, the only known substrate for Vole Ears Lichen in Newfoundland, is browsed by Moose resulting in the understocking of Balsam Fir, various hardwood and other native vegetation and a relatively higher spruce proportion, thus potentially limiting the available habitat for the lichen.

Evidence of gastropod grazing on Vole Ears Lichen was recorded in NS (Cameron 2009). Three species of gastropods were found feeding on cyanolichens in Nova Scotia (Cameron 2009): Pallifera dorsalis, a small native gastropod; and Arion subfuscus and Deroceras reticulatum, larger aggressive species introduced from Europe (Davis 1992).  Non-native gastropods may also pose a problem for Vole Ears Lichen in Newfoundland (Moss and Hermanutz 2010). Surveys in Newfoundland have noted occurrences of Vole Ears Lichen being lightly grazed, but the taxa / species responsible for the grazing is unknown. Mollusc grazing can play an important part in shaping the epiphytic vegetation of deciduous forests and juvenile thalli seem to be at particular risk (Asplund & Gauslaa 2008).

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5. Population and Distribution Objectives

The objectives of this strategy are to ensure that the species’ known range (2012) and the health and stability of the three known populations (2012) are not impacted by habitat loss, degradation, biological resource use of the species’ host tree, or invasive gastropods.

As of January 2012, three populations of Vole Ears Lichen were known from the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador (26 adult thalli), the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia (29 adult thalli), and the South Shore of Nova Scotia (124 adult thalli).

A GIS-based predicted distribution model was developed for Vole Ears Lichen in Eastern Canada and results from this model suggest that the population size and distribution of Vole Ears Lichen may be larger than is currently known.

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6. Broad Strategies and General Approaches to Meet Objectives

6.1 Actions Already Completed or Currently Underway

In Newfoundland and Labrador, lichen inventories, surveys, pre-harvest forest surveys and opportunistic searching have been ongoing since 1996 by contract staff, Department of Environment and Conservation (Parks and Natural Areas Division and Wildlife Division), Department of Natural Resources, Miawpukek First Nation, and, where required, for proponents of proposals registered in the Environmental Assessments process. Vole Ears Lichen monitoring has been underway since 2010. Some Boreal Felt Lichen sites on the Avalon Peninsula have been re-visited to ensure that Vole Ears Lichen were not misidentified as Boreal Felt Lichen and more sites are slated to be re-visited. As well, numerous lichen photos initially identified as Boreal Felt Lichen were re-examined to locate any potentially misidentified Vole Ears Lichen. The provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency has deferred harvest in existing Vole Ears Lichen sites via the Forest Management Planning Process and formal protection for areas of conservation interest is currently being pursued. In Nova Scotia, lichen inventories, surveys, pre-harvest forest surveys, and opportunistic searching have been ongoing since 2003. Informal outreach has been underway since 2006.

There are other recovery and guidance documents pertaining to cyanolichens in Atlantic Canada that propose additional activities and measures that may be pertinent for the conservation of Vole Ears Lichen: The Recovery Strategy for Boreal Felt Lichen, Atlantic population (Environment Canada 2007), The Management Plan for the Blue Felt Lichen [DRAFT] (Environment Canada, in prep), The Management Plan for the Boreal Felt Lichen, Boreal population (Environment Canada 2010), A Five Year Management Plan for the Boreal Felt Lichen in Newfoundland and Labrador (Keeping and Hanel 2006), and Endangered Boreal Felt Lichen Special Management Practices (Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources 2012).

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6.2 Strategic Direction for Recovery

Table 4. Recovery Planning Table .
Threats or concerns addressedPriorityBroad Strategy to RecoveryGeneral Description of Research and Management Approaches
Air pollution, climate change, herbivory (direct and causing habitat conversion)

High

Medium

Low
Low

Mitigate threats to the species
  • Engage in existing pollution reduction programs for pollution and greenhouse gasses
  • In NL: Support existing relevant programs by the provincial Department of Natural Resources
  • Prevent gastropods from ascending host trees
  • Develop a protocol for transplanting cyanolichens if host tree is lost
Tree harvesting and forestry activities, forestry road development, housing/cottage developmentHigh
Medium
Ensure enough suitable habitat to maintain the current populations (January 2012) and allow for colonisation
  • Stewardship and compliance promotion
  • Outreach and education: foster cooperative relationships with landowners, foresters, industry, and volunteers to maintain critical habitat
Knowledge gapsHigh
Medium
High
Refine population size and distribution information
Address key knowledge gaps to recovery
  • Develop and implement inventory and monitoring protocol(s)
  • Research (Appendix B)
  • Identify and examine sensitivity to, and effects of, air pollutants

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6.3 Narrative to Support the Recovery Planning Table

Mitigate threats to the species

Vole Ears Lichen will benefit from reductions in air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. It is not feasible to initiate a massive campaign to reduce local and transboundary sources of pollution specifically for the benefit of lichens. Instead, partnerships should be strengthened with government departments to encourage compliance with the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and to continue implementing the Canada-Wide Acid Rain Strategy for Post-2000, the Nova Scotia Energy Strategy, the Nova Scotia Climate Change Action Plan, the Newfoundland and Labrador Climate Change Action Plan, and the New Brunswick Climate Change Action Plan.

Managing the effects of herbivory by voles, squirrels, snowshoe hare, and moose on forests is an ongoing challenge in Newfoundland and Labrador. Similar to the plans to mitigate air pollution and greenhouse gasses by supporting partnerships and implementing existing programs, the way forward for this issue will be to support existing research and management programs.

Gastropods will ascend trees to graze lichens. The climbing of trees can be prevented by a variety of devices such as collars, tapes and traps.  These devices can be applied to phorophytes to determine the most effective method to prevent gastropod access to Vole Ears Lichen.

Researching a successful protocol for transplanting cyanolichens to nearby host trees when a parent tree is threatened by uncontrollable factors (e.g., storms, blow-downs) may be necessary for the maintenance of this lichen at some sites. Transplantation may also provide a means for rescuing rare populations or maintaining the species’ range, but would only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Some success has been achieved in transplanting Boreal Felt Lichen, Boreal population in Newfoundland and Labrador (The Gossan 2010).

Ensure enough suitable habitat to maintain the populations (January 2012) and allow for colonisation

Efforts to communicate with landowners, resource users, developers, land managers, and other stakeholders to promote stewardship are an important part of protecting habitat. It will be necessary to determine best practices for forest management in the vicinity of Vole Ears Lichen sites, in unoccupied potential sites adjacent to critical habitat, and to maintain Balsam Fir across the landscape in Newfoundland and mixed forests of Balsam Fir and/or Red Maple and/or Yellow Birch and associated ground Sphagnum species in Nova Scotia. The experience and knowledge of stakeholders will be important in making management decisions on private and public lands. Protected areas also have a role to play in the conservation of lichens and should be pursued where feasible.

Cyanolichens can be difficult to identify and often take considerable effort to study and learn, but the right educational materials and delivery may pique the interest of industry, foresters, land managers, students, and naturalists. Identification workshops and seminars for various cyanolichens species will provide a foundation for initial steps towards recovery.

Refine population size and distribution information and address key knowledge gaps to recovery

Monitoring is necessary to evaluate the success of recovery efforts. Monitoring will assess the abundance, overall condition of the thalli, habitat characteristics, and apparent threats. Monitoring the health and succession of individual thalli and colonies as well as the long-term habitat conditions will also address some research questions.

Since the GIS predicted distribution model suggested that other Vole Ears Lichen locations may exist, continued lichen surveys / inventories are necessary to gain accurate distribution information for the species.  Where appropriate, the model results can be used to prioritize new survey locations.   

It is important to identify the lichen’s sensitivity to specific types and levels of pollutants and determine under what conditions (timing, duration, life stage of exposure, etc.) these pose the greatest threat. Through identification of local point sources of air pollution and atmospheric conditions, the impact of these point sources on the location and survival of cyanolichens can be assessed. Permanent lichen pollution sampling plots managed by Nova Scotia Environment may provide some insights into the impact of air quality on the distribution and abundance of cyanolichens.

Information regarding air pollution, acid deposition, and meteorological events is available through federal and provincial environment departments and should be assembled and interpreted as it relates to the recovery of cyanolichens. Other threats, such as forestry activity and gastropod grazing, will be researched and monitored directly.

Microhabitat parameters such as humidity, forest composition, forest age structure, and indicator species should be monitored at occupied sites to better define the conditions the species requires.

Other knowledge gaps to recovery that should be addressed, such as life cycle characteristics and dispersal distance, are identified in Appendix B.

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7. Critical Habitat

7.1 Identification of the Species’ Critical Habitat

Critical habitat is identified in this document to the extent possible given the best available information. However, at this time, identification is considered to be partial. Distribution-prediction modeling provided convincing evidence that the known habitat preferences of Vole Ears Lichen exist in locations other than currently confirmed sites, meaning that more sites with Vole Ears Lichen in Atlantic Canada will likely be found. Ecological requisites and physical attributes of critical habitat in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are not fully understood at this time and require further study.

Vole Ears Lichen habitat characteristics

The existing Vole Ears Lichen sites share the following habitat characteristics:

In northeastern North America, Vole Ears Lichen is found within 30 km of the coast where winters are warm (mean temperature −4.5 °C) and summers are cool (mean temperature of 16.4 °C). Over 80 % of the precipitation in these sites falls as rain and fog frequency is high. Vole Ears Lichen is limited to elevations of less than 200 m in Atlantic Canada and occurs at sites with high precipitation, often exceeding 1400 mm (COSEWIC 2009, Davis and Browne 1996).

All trees on which Vole Ears Lichen has been found have been mature or old. Stand tree ages average 65 years in Nova Scotia and 73 years in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dead trees are found at all occurrences and make up as much as 50 % of the forest composition in several stands.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) dominates the herb layer at all occurrences and Sphagnum species are present at all occurrences with a total ground cover of 70 % or more at each location. Other species of moss are present in smaller amounts (5 to 15 % of the ground cover). In Newfoundland, Vole Ears Lichen is frequently found growing alongside or on liverworts, particularly Frullania species and Bryophyte ground cover is high at all sites (dominated by Hylocomium, Pleurozium, Sphagnum, Rhytidiadelphus, Ptilium, and Bazzania).

The Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Vole Ears Lichen habitats are highly humid coastal forests. Host trees are almost always located in, or within 80 m of, a wetland or peatland (COSEWIC 2009). In other respects the habitats are different. In Newfoundland, Vole Ears Lichen is found in mature to overmature coniferous forest patches dominated by Balsam Fir of even ages with characteristically varying tree diameters. These patches occur on flat to gently sloping, imperfectly- to poorly-drained sites in close proximity to wetlands as part of a fragmented landscape which include coniferous stands in different age classes. In Nova Scotia, Vole Ears Lichen habitat is typically in poorly drained depressions with mature coniferous or mixed forests dominated by Balsam Fir and/or Red Maple.

Vole Ears Lichen is found on a variety of substrata. In Newfoundland and Labrador it has been found only on Balsam Fir, while in Nova Scotia it occurs on Balsam Fir as well as Red Maple and Yellow Birch. In New Brunswick one historical record was from a moss–covered rock.

One of the most important habitat requirements for cyanolichens is the presence of precipitation free of acidifying contaminants. Nutrient enrichment from the upper branches of nearby hardwoods may counter the low buffering capacity of coniferous bark in areas with highly acidic precipitation, thus allowing the lichen to survive (Richardson and Cameron 2004). As a result, there may be a critical threshold for the proportion of Red Maple needed for an area to support Vole Ears Lichen in Nova Scotia. This requires further study. 

Critical habitat description

Critical habitat sites are identified in Table 5. At each site, critical habitat for Vole Ears Lichen is identified as the substrata (at present only known from trees), the wetland (which is defined as land that either periodically or permanently has a water table at, near, or above the land’s surface and includes marsh, swamp, fen, bogs, and other shallow open water areas) in which the substrata occurs, or is adjacent to, and a critical function zone. The critical function zone is believed to be necessary to maintain microhabitat characteristics, especially moisture attributes, required for the survival of the lichen and to allow for colonization. The critical function zone is identified as 100 m around the lichen and its substratum and an area around the wetland in which it occurs, or is adjacent to, dependent on wetland size as follows: for wetlands smaller than 100 m2, a critical function zone of 100 m radius surrounding the wetland is identified and for wetlands greater than 100 m2, a critical function zone of 50 m surrounding the wetland is identified. More detailed information on the location of critical habitat to support protection of the species and its habitat may be requested, on a need-to-know basis, by contacting Environment Canada’s Recovery Planning section at: RecoveryPlanning_Pl@ec.gc.ca.

Figure 2: Examples of critical habitat; all areas within the dashed line are included as critical habitat.
Figure 2

Long description for figure 2

Critical habitat is not identified in New Brunswick at this time. If surveys reveal the presence of lichens in the province, critical habitat for the species will be revised.

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Table 5: Sites containing critical habitat for Vole Ears Lichen in Canada. Critical habitat for Vole Ears Lichen occurs within these 1 km squares where the criteria described in Section 7.1 are met.
Population NameGrid NumberSite NameEasting[1]Northing[1]Number of CH Site Centroids within GridCH Site Area (ha)[2] within GridLand Tenure[3]
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22BT83_15South East Placentia281000523500001Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22BT83_16South East Placentia281000523600013Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT14_37Halls Gullies 4313000524700012Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT14_47Halls Gullies 4314000524700001Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT14_48Halls Gullies 1314000524800003Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT14_58Halls Gullies 1
Halls Gullies 2
3150005248000227Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT14_59Halls Gullies 3
Halls Gullies 5
3150005249000219Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT15_50Halls Gullies 33150005250000119Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT15_60Halls Gullies 33160005250000020Non federal
Avalon Peninsula (NL)22CT14_68Halls Gullies 2316000524800001Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20KP95_31Clyde River Road1293000485100002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20KP95_32Clyde River Road1293000485200000.4Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20KP95_40Clyde River Road2294000485000002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20KP95_41Clyde River Road1
Clyde River Road2
2940004851000225Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20KP95_42Clyde River Road1294000485200002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP16_01Oakhill310000486100000.2Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP16_11Oakhill311000486100013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP16_80Jordan River318000486000013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP24_99Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren[5]329000484900006Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP25_90Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren3290004850000018Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP25_91Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren329000485100007Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP25_92Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren329000485200001Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP25_95Misery Lake329000485500013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP26_00Lake John Road[4]
Four Mile Brook
3200004860000114Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP26_01Four Mile Brook3200004861000134Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP26_02Four Mile Brook320000486200005Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP26_10Four Mile Brook321000486000005Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP26_11Four Mile Brook321000486100009Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP27_22Martin Brook322000487200003Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP27_23Martin Brook322000487300016Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP34_09Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren[5]3230004849000016Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP34_17Robs Lake331000484700003Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP34_18Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren
Robs Lake
3310004848000143Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP34_19Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren3310004849000040Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_00Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren3300004850000187Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_01Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren3300004851000045Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_02Canada Hill / MacKenzies Barren330000485200009Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_03Misery Lake Brook330000485300002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_13Misery Lake Brook3310004853000124Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_14Misery Lake Brook3310004854000012Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_21Robarts Pond332000485100012Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_31Robarts Pond333000485100001Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_65Tidney336000485600007Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_66Tidney3360004855000035Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_73Fresh Water Brook337000485300014Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_74Tidney3370004854000011Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_75Tidney3370004855000182Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_76Tidney3370004856000047Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_77Tidney337000486570002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_83Duck Hole
Haley Lake
338000485300002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_84Tidney
Duck Hole
3380004854000119Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_85Tidney3380004855000030Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_86Tidney3380004856000073Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_87Tidney3380004857000011Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_88Pumpkinvine Brook338000485800000.3Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_89Pumpkinvine Brook338000485900013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_90Jones Harbour339000485000013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_93Haley Lake339000485300012Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP35_96Tidney339000485600001Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP44_29Johnstons Pond3420004849000060Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP44_39Johnstons Pond3434849000015Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP45_10Johnstons Pond341000485000002Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP45_20Johnstons Pond3420004850000170Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP45_30Johnstons Pond3430004850000012Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP45_51Thomas Randall Provincial Park345000485100013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP45_62Port L’Hebert346000485200013Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP45_63Port L’Hebert346000485300000.1Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP48_42Bon Mature Lake344000488200019Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20LP48_52Bon Mature Lake345000488200007Non federal
South Shore
(NS)
20MQ13_31Blandford413000493100017Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20MQ87_91Fuller Lake489000497100013Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20MQ96_26Dooks Pond492000496600015Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20MQ96_93Webber Lake499000496300002Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20MQ96_94Webber Lake4990004964000120Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20MQ97_00Otter Pond490000497000013Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20NQ17_45Bear Lake514000497500013Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20NQ68_58Burnt Hill Lake Brook565000498800013Non federal
Eastern Shore
(NS)
20NQ68_59Burnt Hill Lake Brook565000498900000.01Non federal

[1] The listed coordinates represent the southwest corner of the 1 km Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Military Grid Reference System square containing critical habitat sites. The coordinates may not fall within critical habitat and are provided as a general location only.
[2] The area presented is of the site boundary containing areas of critical habitat and not necessarily the area of critical habitat itself. Refer to Section 7.1 for a description of how critical habitat within these areas is defined.
[3] Land Tenure is provided as an approximation of land ownership of the site containing critical habitat and should be used for guidance purposes only. Accurate land tenure will require cross referencing critical habitat boundaries with surveyed land parcel information
[4] This site corresponds to occurrences Lake John Road1 & Lake John Road 2 as stated in the 2010 COSEWIC status report.
[5] This site corresponds to occurrences Canada Hill 1 & Canada Hill 2 as stated in the 2010 COSEWIC status report, and has expanded following the discovery of new Vole Ears thalli.

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7.2 Schedule of Studies to Identify Critical Habitat

Table 6. Schedule of Studies.
Description of ActivityRationaleTimeline
Determine macro-scale physical environment and functional features that are vital for survival and colonisation.Understand requirements of species and is necessary to determine whether the current identification of critical habitat includes sufficient habitat at each site to ensure long-term survival and ability to colonise new areaspreliminary results by 2016; further analysis by 2022
Determine microclimate requirements that are vital for survival.  Determine whether Red Maple component provides critical microclimate requirements in NS.

Understand requirements of species and is necessary to determine whether the current identification of critical habitat includes sufficient habitat at each site to ensure long-term survival;

Determines whether additional Red Maple outside the critical function zone should be conserved (in NS) to ensure characteristics at the critical habitat sites are maintained (pH).

2016
Assess the relationship between wetland size and recharge area required to maintain wetland functionality.  Determine necessity of critical function zone and area required to maintain critical habitat characteristics.May lead to refinement of critical habitat. Determines if zone surrounding wetland is necessary to protect the wetland function and mitigate effects of fragmentation.  If deemed necessary, refines area of critical function zone.2017
Determine the necessity of protecting suitable unoccupied habitat for connectivity and colonisation.May lead to refinement of critical habitat.  Determines whether the current identification of critical habitat is sufficient at each site to ensure long-term survival and ability to colonise new areas.preliminary results by 2016; further analysis by 2022

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7.3 Activities Likely to Result in the Destruction of Critical Habitat

Destruction of critical habitat is determined on a case by case basis. Destruction would result if part of the critical habitat were degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it would not serve its function when needed by the species. Destruction may result from a single or multiple activities at one point in time or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time (Government of Canada, 2009).  When critical habitat is identified in a recovery strategy, examples of activities that are likely to result in its destruction will be provided. Activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Activities that remove or damage host trees. Such activities remove the host trees that are essential for the lichen or may alter the suitability of the tree as a host for the lichen.

Examples include tree blazing, clear cutting, logging, and tree harvesting.

  • Activities that result in the loss or removal of trees from adjacent areas (including unoccupied trees). The loss of such trees may indirectly lead to a decrease in bark pH in the remaining softwoods; conditions which reduce the survival of cyanolichens (Richardson and Cameron 2004). Such removal may also decrease humidity and increase wind-speeds (and associated wind-throw damage) within critical habitat.

Examples include clear cutting, logging, tree harvesting, road construction, and cottage development in adjacent areas.

At this time, it is not possible to define the extent of the area adjacent to critical habitat that may result in the destruction of critical habitat. Additional guidance will be developed once the schedule of studies for Vole Ears Lichen is complete.

  • Activities that alter the hydrology of the wetland adjacent to or hosting the lichen.

Examples include road construction, infilling, clear cutting, tree harvesting, and cottage development

Proposed recovery actions and existing legislation may be insufficient to prevent the destruction of Vole Ears Lichen critical habitat via air pollution, including acid rain/fog.

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8. Measuring Progress

The performance indicators presented below provide a way to define and measure progress toward achieving the population and distribution objectives for Vole Ears Lichen.

This recovery strategy and supporting action plan(s) will be subject to an adaptive management approach, whereby new information will be integrated on an ongoing basis. A five-year evaluation of the recovery strategy will be based upon the performance measures listed below.

Success of the recovery strategy implementation will be measured against the following performance indicators:

  • stability of the three known populations of Vole Ears Lichen (as of January 2012) and no loss of adult thalli due to habitat loss, degradation, biological resource use of the species’ host tree, or invasive gastropods.
  • no loss in the known range of the three populations (as of January 2012) due to habitat loss, degradation, biological resource use of the species’ host tree, or invasive gastropods.
  • improved stewardship of Vole Ears Lichen sites through increased awareness among landowners, land managers, and those approving development plans. Improved stewardship can be measured through landowner and land-manager stewardship agreements, either formal or informal (i.e. ‘hand-shake’ agreements).
  • reduced knowledge gaps regarding the distribution, dispersal patterns, population dynamics, threats and ecology of the species.

9. Statement on Action Plans

One or more action plans will be completed within three years of the final version of this recovery strategy being posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

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10. References

Asplund and Gauslaa, Y. 2008. Mollusc grazing may constrain the ecological niche of the old forest lichen Pseudocyphellaria crocata. Plant Biology 10(6): 711-717.

Beauchamp, S., R. Tordon, and A. Pinette. 1998. Chemistry and deposition of acidifying substances by marine advection fog in Atlantic Canada. pp. 171-174. in R. S.  Schemenauer and H. Bridgman (eds). First International Conference on Fog and Fog Collection, Vancouver, Canada, July 19-24, 1998 [Proceedings].

Cameron, Robert. 2009. Are non-native gastropods a threat to endangered lichens? Canadian Field-Naturalist 123(2): 169–171.

Cameron, R.P. 2006. Protected Area-working forest interface: concerns for protected areas management in Canada. Natural Areas Journal 26: 403-407.

COSEWIC. 2009. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Vole Ears Erioderma mollissimum in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. ix + 51 pp. .

Davis, D.S. 1992. Terrestrial Mollusca of Nova Scotia: in the footsteps of John Robert Willis, 1825-1876. Proceedings of the Ninth International Malacological Congress 9: 125-133.

Davis, D.S. and S. Browne. 1996. Natural History of Nova Scotia. Nimbus Publishing and Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax.

Environment Act. 1994-95, c. 1, s. 1. (Accessed 12 October, 2011).

Environment Canada. 2003. Clean Air Site.

Esseen, P. and K. Renhorn. 1998. Edge effects on an epiphytic lichen in fragmented forests. Conservation Biology 12: 1307-1317.

Farmer, A.M., J.W. Bates, and J.N.B. Bell. 1991. Seasonal variations in acidic pollutant inputs and their effects on the chemistry of stemflow and epiphyte tissues in three oak woodlands in NW Britain. New Phytologist 115: 431-437.

Gilbert, O.L. 1986. Field evidence for an acid rain effect on lichens. Environmental Pollution, Series A 40:227-231.

GIS Forest Cover data. Newfoundland Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods. Corner Brook.

GIS forest cover data, harvest level and sustainable harvest 1997-2005. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Truro.

Government of Canada. 2009.  Species at Risk Act Policies, Overarching Policy Framework [Draft]. Species at Risk Act Policy and Guidelines Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. 38 pp.

Hallingback, T. 1989. Occurrence and ecology of the lichen Lobaria scrobiculata in southern Sweden. Lichenologist 21: 331-341.

Hawksworth, D.L., and F. Rose. 1970. Qualitative scale for estimating sulphur dioxide pollution in England and Wales using epiphytic lichens. Nature 227: 145-148.

Hunter, M.L. Jr. 1990. Wildlife, Forests, and Forestry: Principles of Managing Forests for Biological Diversity. Regents Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs. 370 pp.

Jørgensen, P.M. and L. Arvidsson. 2001. The sorediate species of the lichen genus Erioderma Fée. Nova Hedwigia 73:497-512.

Keeping, B., and C. Hanel. 2006. A 5 Year (2006-2011) Management Plan for the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) in Newfoundland and Labrador. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 36 pp.

Maass, W.S.G and Yetman, D. 2002. COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Boreal Felt Lichen, Erioderma pedicellatum, in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa. 50pp.

McLaren, B., L. Hermanutz, J. Gosse, B. Collet, and C. Kasimos. 2009. Broadleaf competition interferes with balsam fir regeneration fol­lowing experimental removal of moose. Forest Ecology and Management 257: 1395-1404.

McLaren, B., B. A. Roberts, N. Djan-Chékar, and K. P. Lewis. 2004. Effects of overabundant moose on the Newfoundland landscape. Alces 40: 44-59.

Moss, M. and Hermanutz, L. 2010. Monitoring the small and slimy -- protected areas should be monitoring native and non-native slugs (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Natural Areas Journal 30(3): 322-327.

Muraca, G. D.C. MacIver, N. Urquizo and H. Auld. 2001. The climatology of fog in Canada. pp. 513-516 in R. S. Schemenauer and H. Bridgman (eds). First International Conference on Fog and Fog Collection, Vancouver, Canada, July 19- 24, 1998 [Proceedings].

NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. (Accessed: 7 September, 2011 ).

Nieboer, E., MacFarlane, J.D. and Richardson, D.H.S. 1984. Modifications of plant cell buffering capacities by gaseous air pollutants. Pp 313-330 in M. Koziol and F.R. Whatley (eds). Gaseous air pollutants and plant metabolism, Butterworths, London.

Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. 2012. Endangered Boreal Felt Lichen Special Management Practices.  (Accesssed 19 December 2012).

Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy.   (Accessed: 12 October, 2011).

Pykälä, J. 2004. Effects of new forestry practices on rare epiphytic macrolichens. Conservation Biology 18: 831-838.

Rheault, H., P. Drapeau, Y. Bergeron, P. Esseen. 2003. Edge effects on epiphytic lichens in managed black spruce forests of eastern North America. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33: 23-32.

Richardson, D.H.S. 2008. The status of The Graceful Felt Lichen Erioderma mollissimum in Newfoundland and Labrador. Prepared for The Species Status Advisory Committee. 28 pp.

Richardson, D.H.S. and Cameron, R.P. 2004. Cyanolichens: their response to pollution and possible management strategies for their conservation in Northeastern North America. Northeastern Naturalist 11: 1-22.

Sigal, L.L., and W.J. Johnston, Jr. 1986. Effects of acidic rain and ozone on nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis in the lichen Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm. Environmental and Experimental Botany 26: 59-64. 

The Gossan. Newsletter of Vale Newfoundland and Labrador. June 2010. Boreal Felt Lichen experiment showing positive results. (Accessed 08 February, 2012)

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APPENDIX A: Effects on the Environment and Other Species

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals. The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally sound decision-making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.

This action plan will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Vole Ears Lichen. The potential for the plan to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this plan will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects.

The effects on other species were also considered. Vole Ears Lichen is one of a suite of rare cyanolichens, many of which occur in similar habitats within the humid Atlantic forest region of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Because these species share similar habitat requirements, actions directed towards better understanding ecosystem-level associations and securing habitat for Vole Ears Lichen will almost certainly result in the protection of populations of other rare cyanolichens. At a regional level, any progress in reducing air pollution will benefit not only Vole Ears Lichen, but most (if not all) of the flora and fauna of the Atlantic forest region as well.

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APPENDIX B: Knowledge Gaps to Recovery

  • Identify life cycle of the species
  • Genetic diversity (Newfoundland and Labrador vs. Nova Scotia)
  • Dispersal distance: distance and mechanisms
  • Track resilience of the lichen
  • Identify microclimate requirements and specific effects of pollution and acid deposition
  • Determine how invasive species are affecting forest regeneration and identify efficient and acceptable management actions to reduce invasive species
  • Identify mortality factors and determine their population effect
  • Effects of gastropod herbivory

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APPENDIX C: Provincial Definitions of a Wetland

A wetland, as defined under the Newfoundland and Labrador Water Resources Act, is land that has the water table at, near or above the land surface and includes bogs, fens, marshes, swamps and other shallow open water areas.

As defined under the Environment Act (Nova Scotia) a wetland is a marsh, swamp, fen or bog that either periodically or permanently has a water table at, near or above the land's surface or that is saturated with water, and sustains aquatic processes as indicated by the presence of poorly drained soils, hydrophytic vegetation (Sphagnum species and Cinnamon Fern) and biological activities adapted to wet conditions.

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