Scientific Name: Pinus flexilis
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: British Columbia, Alberta
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2014
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
Limber Pine is a five-needled pine, typically 3-15 m tall, with a much-branched, rounded crown. The seed cones are egg-shaped (7-15 cm long by 4-6 cm wide) and light-brown to greenish-brown. The cones open to release the seeds and then fall to the ground. Its large seeds are brown, 10-15 mm long and usually wingless.Limber Pine growth rings can provide information on climate and river flows back 500-1000 years, much further than historical records, which are generally 100 years at most. This information is important for understanding and projecting scenarios of climate change, including drought and river flows. Limber Pine is also a “keystone” species, the seeds providing important food for bears, small mammals and birds, and the trees sheltering other species.
This tree species is imminently and severely threatened throughout its Canadian range by White Pine Blister Rust (an introduced pathogen), Mountain Pine Beetle, and climate change. Surveys at a number of sites in 2009 document an average of 43% and 35% of infected or dead trees, respectively. Repeated survey information leads to an estimated decline in the Canadian population of about 1% per year. At that rate, close to 2/3 of mature individuals are expected to be lost over the next 100 years, and local subpopulations could become extirpated.
Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species".
COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2014 to September, 2015) from November 23 to November 28, 2014 and from April 27 to May 1, 2015. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species.
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2014-2015 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 21
Data Deficient: 1
Not at Risk: 1
Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 24 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same risk status as the previous assessment.
The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk.
Please submit your comments byMay 4, 2016, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultationsand byOctober 4, 2016, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:Species at Risk Public Registry website