Gaspé shrew (Sorex gaspensis) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 8

Limiting Factors and Threats

Because of the inaccessibility of the habitat used by S. gaspensis and S. dispar, few factors have been identified that could threaten populations. It is probable that many populations occur on government-owned (federal or provincial) lands and are thus afforded some level of protection. Commercial logging or tree cutting for firewood is difficult or impossible on steep (35-45°) talus slopes. Roads are generally built in valley bottoms, and talus provides an unstable foundation for road building. Fire may potentially be a threat and stand-replacing fires could kill many shrews; however, little is known about whether fires above or below talus slopes affect shrews. Talus slopes at high elevations are not susceptible to winter or spring snowmelt flooding (Herman and Scott 1992; Herman and Scott 1994). The fact that shrew populations are small, isolated and disjunct may make S. gaspensis susceptible to stochastic events that extirpate populations; however, isolated populations of this species appear to have survived for many years.

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