COSEWIC Status Appraisal Summary on the Poor Pocket Moss Fissidens pauperculus in Canada

Endangered
2011



COSEWIC
Committee on the Status
of Endangered Wildlife
in Canada
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COSEPAC
Comité sur la situation
des espèces en péril
au Canada

COSEWIC status appraisal summaries are working documents used in assigning the status of wildlife species suspected of being at risk in Canada. This document may be cited as follows:

COSEWIC. 2011. COSEWIC status appraisal summary on the Poor Pocket Moss Fissidens pauperculus in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. xi pp.
(Species at Risk Status Reports)

Production note:
COSEWIC would like to acknowledge Judith A. Harpel for writing the status appraisal summary on the Poor Pocket Moss, Fissidens pauperculus, prepared under contract with Environment Canada. This status appraisal summary was overseen and edited by René Belland, Co-chair of the COSEWIC Mosses and Lichens Specialist Subcommittee.

For additional copies contact:

COSEWIC Secretariat
c/o Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0H3

Tel.: 819–953–3215
Fax: 819–994–3684
E-mail: COSEWIC/COSEPAC@ec.gc.ca
Website: http://www.cosewic.gc.ca

Également disponible en français sous le titre Sommaire du statut de l’espèce du COSEPAC sur le Fissident appauvri (Fissidens pauperculus) au Canada.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2011.
Catalogue No.: CW69-14/2-14-2011E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-18723-5

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COSEWIC
Assessment Summary

Assessment Summary – May 2011

Common name:

Poor Pocket Moss

Scientific name:
Fissidens pauperculus

Status:
Endangered

Reason for designation:
This western North American endemic reaches its northern range limit at a single, isolated Canadian locality in southwestern British Columbia. Here, it occurs as several small colonies within a geographically restricted area, making the Canadian population especially vulnerable to human disturbance and events such as unusually heavy local rainfall, erosion, and treefall.

Occurrence:
British Columbia

Status history:
Designated Endangered in November 2001 and May 2011.

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COSEWIC
Status Appraisal Summary

Fissidens pauperculus

Poor Pocket Moss
Fissident appauvri

Jurisdictions: BC

Current COSEWIC Assessment:

Status Category:
Endangered

Date of last assessment:
November 2001

Reason for designation at last assessment:
This North American endemic is found in several Pacific states and at only one disjunct locality in southern British Columbia, where it occurs as a single small clump and a few adjacent tiny tufts of plants within a stream bed, and where it is at risk from human disturbance and stochastic events.

New reason for designation (only if different from above):

Criteria applied at last assessment: D1

If earlier version of criteria was applied1, provide correspondence to current criteria: N/A

If different criteria are proposed based on new information, provide explanation:

If application of current specific criteria is not possible, provide explanation:


Recommendation: Update to the status report NOT required (wildlife species’ status category remains unchanged). Status is retained.

Reason:
selected sufficient information to conclude there has been no change in status category
not selected not enough additional information available to warrant a fully updated status report


Evidence (indicate as applicable):

Wildlife Species:
Change in eligibility, taxonomy or designatable units:
no

Explanation:

There has been no change in taxonomic status and this species has not been found outside of Lynn Canyon although potentially suitable habitat occurs within the region.

Range:
Change in Extent of Occurrence (EO):
no
Change in Area of Occupancy (AO):
no
Change in number of known or inferred current locations:
no
Significant new survey information:
no

Explanation:

Population Information:
Change in number of mature individuals:
yes
Change in total population trend:
yes
Change in severity of population fragmentation:
no
Change in trend in area and/or quality of habitat:
no
Significant new survey information:
no

Explanation:

Threats:
Change in nature and/or severity of threats:
no selection

Explanation:

In 2000 the original colony for Poor Pocket Moss (occurring in the northern gully) was observed as a single patch (or colony) measuring about 625 cm2 (Belland 2001). Defining moss individuals is difficult since one tuft of moss that consists of many shoots may have arisen from the germination of a single spore. In this report we follow the recommendation proposed by Hallingbäck et al. (2000) where a single discrete patch of moss is counted as one individual.

Since 2000, several new colonies at the site have been found. In 2009, McIntosh described the original colony as six small 10 cm x 5 cm patches with a total of about 1000+ plants present (McIntosh 2010). McIntosh suggested that Poor Pocket Moss had colonized large areas of the silt face that were exposed during heavy rains in 2005. Based on surveys by McIntosh in 2007 and 2009, an additional colony was discovered on a more southerly gully, adjacent to the better-studied northern gully. This colony measures as “a small ~ 10 x 5 cm patch” (McIntosh 2010). At present there have been no dedicated surveys for F. pauperculus done outside of Lynn Canyon, (McIntosh pers. comm. & Joya pers. comm). Documented changes in patch size over time (Belland 2001, McIntosh 2009) are summarized in Table 1.

Protection:
Change in effective protection:
no

Explanation:

The species is listed as Endangered nationally and receives protection under the Species at Risk Act. The site is in a municipal park managed by the District of North Vancouver, and is zoned for ecological protection and recreational use.

Rescue Effect:
Evidence of rescue effect:
no

Explanation:

Quantitative Analysis:
Change in estimated probability of extirpation:
no

Details:

Summary and Additional Considerations:

The Lynn Canyon, British Columbia, population is still the only known location in Canada. A Recovery Strategy for the Poor Pocket Moss was completed and released by Environment Canada in December 2010 and this calls for an action plan to be posted by 2011 by British Columbia.

The trail has been fenced and the park rangers are aware of the site. The following suggested changes to protection outlined in the provincial Recovery Strategy (Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team 2010) include: (1) developing an exclusion zone to protect the site (i.e., District of North Vancouver, through the park master planning process), (2) increasing the fencing and adding more signs restricting access, (3) increasing public awareness, i.e., signage noting the significance of the site could be placed at each end of the trail, (3) blocking off the small infrequently used footpath that leads down to near the populations, and/or (4) electing to completely decommission the trail. Brown (pers. comm. 2010) suggested putting in a boardwalk to help focus hikers away from the area; however, this strategy is subject to available funds. In addition to the specified actions, a stewardship approach could be used to increase the protection for this species.

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Table 1: Patch Size Over Time for F. Pauperculus Based on Observations by R. Belland (2001) and T. McIntosh (2009)

Year ObservedNorth Gully
(no of patches indicated by numbers of columns completed for each year, and also indicated in parentheses beside each year)
South Gully
Patch 1Patch 2Patch 3Patch 4Patch 5Patch 6
1961site was first found, size of patch was not measured 
2000 (2)about 625 cm2? size     
2001 (2)? sizenot found     
2003 (2)? size? size     
2004 (2)about 50 cm2smaller patch ? size     
2005, Marchheavy rain event, no patches found 
2005 (6), July2-3 cm22-3 cm22-3 cm26 cm26 cm2up to 40 cm2 
2007 (5)about 150 cm2about 30 cm2about 1.5m2about 60 cm2about 40 cm2?10 x 5 cm found
2009 (6)about 150 cm2about 30 cm2about 1 m2about 60 cm2about 40 cm2?10 x 5 cm

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List of Authorities Contacted to Review the Status Appraisal

Ken Bennett
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team
Section Manager, Environmental Protection
District of North Vancouver

Mike Brown
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team
District of North Vancouver, Community Forester

Brenda Costanzo
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team Chair
Plant Species at Risk Biologist, Ecosystems Branch, BC Ministry of Environment

Karen Golinski
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team

Steve Joya
Recent bachelor degree graduate from the UBC Botany Department and local bryologist

Scot Kinssinger
Manager of the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre

Terry McIntosh
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team
Author of Recovery Strategy for Poor Pocket Moss

Mike Ryan
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team

Ross Vennesland
Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team
Species at Risk Biologist, BC Ministry of Environment

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Sources of Information

Belland, R.J. 2001. COSEWIC report on Poor Pocket Moss (Fissidens pauperculus M. Howe). vi+15 pp. Can. Wildl. Serv., Environ. Can., Ottawa, ON.

Brown, M. Personal communication June 2010. Community Forester, District of North Vancouver and Poor Pocket Moss recovery team member.

Hallingbäck, T and N. Hodgetts. 2000. Status survey and conservation action plan for bryophyte - mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. IUCN/SSC Bryophyte Specialist Group. Cambridge, U.K. 106 pp.

Joya, S. Personal communication June 2010. Recent bachelor degree graduate from the UBC Botany Dept. and local bryologist.

McIntosh. T.T. Personal communication June 2010. Poor Pocket Moss expert and recovery team member.

McIntosh, T.T. 2010. Addition to the Recovery Strategy for the Poor Pocket Moss (Fissidens pauperculus M. Howe) in British Columbia.

McIntosh, T.T. 2009. Surveys for Rare and At Risk Mosses and Lichens in the Lower Mainland, 2007-2009. unpublished report prepared for B.C. Ministry of Environment. Surrey B.C. 22 pp.

Poor Pocket Moss Recovery Team. 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Poor Pocket Moss (Fissidens pauperculus M. Howe) in British Columbia. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/recovery/rcvrystrat/fissidens_paup_rcvry_strat_010807.pdf] (last accessed March 2011).

Pursell, R. 2007. Fissidentaceae. Flora of North America Editorial Committee Vol 27:331-357. Oxford University Press. New York, Oxford.

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Technical Summary

Fissidens pauperculus

Poor Pocket Moss

Fissident appauvri

Range of occurrence in Canada (province/territory/ocean): BC

Demographic Information

Generation time (usually average age of parents in the population; indicate if another method of estimating generation time indicated in the IUCN guidelines(2008) is being used)Unknown
Is there an [observed, inferred, or projected] continuing decline in number of mature individuals?Unknown, but population has varied in size in past 10 yrs
Estimated percent of continuing decline in total number of mature individuals within [5 years or 2 generations]Unknown
[Observed, estimated, inferred, or suspected] percent [reduction or increase] in total number of mature individuals over the last [10 years, or 3 generations].Unknown
[Projected or suspected] percent [reduction or increase] in total number of mature individuals over the next [10 years, or 3 generations].Unknown
[Observed, estimated, inferred, or suspected] percent [reduction or increase] in total number of mature individuals over any [10 years, or 3 generations] period, over a time period including both the past and the future.Unknown
Are the causes of the decline clearly reversible and understood and ceased?No
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of mature individuals?No


Extent and Occupancy Information

Estimated extent of occurrence4 km2 based on the size of one 2x2 km2 grid square. Biological EO is much less.
Index of area of occupancy (IAO)
(2x2 km grid) based on four populations: Anchor Point, Yankee Point, Sandy Cove [Airstrip, Lion's Club, Gravel Crusher], and Shoal Cove: 5 grids (Figure 1).
1 grid = 4 km2
(based on 2x2 km2 grids).
Is the total population severely fragmented?No
Number of locations*1
Is there an [observed, inferred, or projected] continuing decline in extent of occurrence?Unknown
Is there an [observed, inferred, or projected] continuing decline in index of area of occupancy?Unknown
Is there an [observed, inferred, or projected] continuing decline in number of populations?Unknown
Is there an [observed, inferred, or projected] continuing decline in number of locations?Unknown
Is there an [observed, inferred, or projected] continuing decline in [area, extent and/or quality] of habitat?Unknown
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of populations?No
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of locations*?No
Are there extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence?No
Are there extreme fluctuations in index of area of occupancy?No

* See definition of location.


Number of Mature Individuals (in each population)

PopulationN Mature Individuals
1 population with 6 colonies, sizes = 1 m2, 60 cm2, 150 cm2, 30 cm2, 40 cm2, 50 cm26 colonies totalling about 1.03 m2
Total6 colonies


Quantitative Analysis

Probability of extinction in the wild is at least [20% within 20 years or 5 generations, or 10% within 100 years].
Unknown


Threats (actual or imminent, to populations or habitats)

Stochastic events such as high rainfall events; hikers; changes in tree canopy structure; encroachment of habitat by other bryophytes.


Rescue Effect (immigration from outside Canada)

Status of outside population(s)?Apparently rare throughout global range.
Is immigration known or possible?No
Would immigrants be adapted to survive in Canada?Yes
Is there sufficient habitat for immigrants in Canada?Unknown
Is rescue from outside populations likely?No


Status and Reasons for Designation

Status:
Endangered
Alpha–numeric code:
D1
Reasons for designation:
This western North American endemic reaches its northern range limit at a single, isolated Canadian locality in southwestern British Columbia. Here, it occurs as several small colonies within a geographically restricted area, making the Canadian population especially vulnerable to human disturbance and events such as unusually heavy local rainfall, erosion, and treefall.


Applicability of Criteria

Criterion A (Decline in Total Number of Mature Individuals):
Not applicable. Data are not available to calculate decline.
Criterion B (Small Distribution Range and Decline or Fluctuation):
Decline and fluctuation data are not available.
Criterion C (Small and Declining Number of Mature Individuals):
Decline data are not available.
Criterion D (Very Small or Restricted Total Population):
Meets criteria for EN (numbers of individuals <250 individuals, actual = 6).
Criterion E (Quantitative Analysis):
Not applicable.

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COSEWIC History

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) was created in 1977 as a result of a recommendation at the Federal–Provincial Wildlife Conference held in 1976. It arose from the need for a single, official, scientifically sound, national listing of wildlife species at risk. In 1978, COSEWIC designated its first species and produced its first list of Canadian species at risk. Species designated at meetings of the full committee are added to the list. On June 5, 2003, the Species at Risk Act (SARA) was proclaimed. SARA establishes COSEWIC as an advisory body ensuring that species will continue to be assessed under a rigorous and independent scientific process.

COSEWIC Mandate

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assesses the national status of wild species, subspecies, varieties, or other designatable units that are considered to be at risk in Canada. Designations are made on native species for the following taxonomic groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, arthropods, molluscs, vascular plants, mosses, and lichens.

COSEWIC Membership

COSEWIC comprises members from each provincial and territorial government wildlife agency, four federal entities (Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Federal Biodiversity Information Partnership, chaired by the Canadian Museum of Nature), three non–government science members and the co–chairs of the species specialist subcommittees and the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge subcommittee. The Committee meets to consider status reports on candidate species.

Definitions
(2011)

Wildlife Species
A species, subspecies, variety, or geographically or genetically distinct population of animal, plant or other organism, other than a bacterium or virus, that is wild by nature and is either native to Canada or has extended its range into Canada without human intervention and has been present in Canada for at least 50 years.

Extinct (X)
A wildlife species that no longer exists.

Extirpated (XT)
A wildlife species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere.

Endangered (E)
A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.

Threatened (T)
A wildlife species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.

Special Concern (SC)*
A wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Not at Risk (NAR)**
A wildlife species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.

Data Deficient (DD)***
A category that applies when the available information is insufficient (a) to resolve a species’ eligibility for assessment or (b) to permit an assessment of the species’ risk of extinction.

*
Formerly described as “Vulnerable” from 1990 to 1999, or “Rare” prior to 1990.

**
Formerly described as “Not In Any Category”, or “No Designation Required.”

***
Formerly described as “Indeterminate” from 1994 to 1999 or “ISIBD” (insufficient scientific information on which to base a designation) prior to 1994. Definition of the (DD) category revised in 2006.

The Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, provides full administrative and financial support to the COSEWIC Secretariat.



Footnotes

1 An earlier version of the quantitative criteria was used by COSEWIC from October 1999 to May 2001 and is available on the COSEWIC website.