Boreal felt lichen, Atlantic population (Erioderma pedicellatum) recovery strategy

Official title: Recovery Strategy for the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum), Atlantic Population, in Canada

 Boreal Felt Lichen

May 2007

About the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series

What is the Species at Risk Act (SARA)? 

SARA is the Act developed by the federal government as a key contribution to the common national effort to protect and conserve species at risk in Canada. SARA came into force in 2003, and one of its purposes is “to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity.” 

What is recovery? 

In the context of species at risk conservation, recoveryis the process by which the decline of an endangered, threatened or extirpated species is arrested or reversed, and threats are removed or reduced to improve the likelihood of the species’ persistence in the wild. A species will be considered recoveredwhen its long-term persistence in the wild has been secured. 

What is a recovery strategy? 

A recovery strategy is a planning document that identifies what needs to be done to arrest or reverse the decline of a species. It sets goals and objectives and identifies the main areas of activities to be undertaken. Detailed planning is done at the action plan stage. 

Recovery strategy development is a commitment of all provinces and territories and of three federal agencies -- Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada -- under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Sections 37–46 of SARA ( spell out both the required content and the process for developing recovery strategies published in this series. 

Depending on the status of the species and when it was assessed, a recovery strategy has to be developed within one to two years after the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Three to four years is allowed for those species that were automatically listed when SARA came into force. 

What’s next? 

In most cases, one or more action plans will be developed to define and guide implementation of the recovery strategy. Nevertheless, directions set in the recovery strategy are sufficient to begin involving communities, land users, and conservationists in recovery implementation. Cost-effective measures to prevent the reduction or loss of the species should not be postponed for lack of full scientific certainty. 

The series 

This series presents the recovery strategies prepared or adopted by the federal government under SARA. New documents will be added regularly as species get listed and as strategies are updated. 

To learn more 

To learn more about the Species at Risk Act and recovery initiatives, please consult the SARA PublicRegistry ( the Web site of the Recovery Secretariat(

Recommended citation:

Environment Canada. 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum), Atlantic Population, in Canada. Species at Risk ActRecovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. viii + 31 pp.

 Additional copies:  

Additional copies can be downloaded from the SARA Public Registry ( 

Cover illustration:Boreal felt lichen on balsam fir, eastern shore, Nova Scotia. Photo by Robert Cameron.

Également disponible en français sous le titre

« Programme de rétablissement de l’érioderme boréal (Erioderma pedicellatum), population de l’Atlantique, au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2007. All rights reserved.

ISBN  978-0-662-45749-7

Cat. no.En3-4/20-2007E-PDF

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



This recovery strategy has been prepared in cooperation with the jurisdictions responsible for the boreal felt lichen. Environment Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its recovery strategy for the boreal felt lichen, as required under the Species at Risk Act. This recovery strategy also constitutes advice to other jurisdictions and organizations that may be involved in recovering the species.

The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new findings and revised objectives.

This recovery strategy will be the basis for one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation and recovery of the species. The Minister of the Environment will report on progress within five years.

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. In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of the Environment invites all responsible jurisdictions and Canadians to join Environment Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the boreal felt lichen and Canadian society as a whole.



Environment Canada

Canadian Wildlife Service – Atlantic Region


Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources

New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources


This recovery strategy has been prepared by Crystal L. Doggett from the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.


The development of this strategy was led and funded by Canadian Wildlife Service – Atlantic Region (Environment Canada) and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. Staff from these agencies invested a great deal of time in the development of this document. The Recovery Team for the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen has contributed extensively to the writing of this recovery strategy. The members of the Recovery Team include Robert Cameron (Co-chair), Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour; Mark Elderkin (Co-chair), Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources; Andrew Boyne, Environment Canada; Sherman Boates, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources; David Richardson, Saint Mary’s University; Wolfgang Maass, Retired Research Scientist; Tom Neily, Independent Consultant; Francis Anderson, Independent Consultant; Heather Stewart, Nova Scotia Community College; Pascal Giasson, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources; and Stephen Clayden, New Brunswick Museum (Observer). Other contributors include Ian DeMerchant, Canadian Forest Service; Tracey Inkpen, Environment Canada; Kim Mahwinney, Environment Canada; Julie McKnight, Environment Canada; Carolyn Seburn, Environment Canada; and Kamila Tomcit, Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour.


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 on non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy itself, but are also summarized below.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the boreal felt lichen (Atlantic population). The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategywill clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. The reader should refer to the following sections of the document in particular: Description of the species, Description of the biological needs of the species, Examples of activities that are likely to result in the destruction of the critical habitat, and Effects on other species.


SARA defines residence as: a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating[Subsection 2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted on the SARA public registry:


The boreal felt lichen (Atlantic population) is under the management jurisdiction of provincial governments. The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered, or threatened species. Theboreal felt lichen was listed as Endangered under SARA in January 2005 and under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act in 2003. The Canadian Wildlife Service – Atlantic Region (Environment Canada) and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources led the development of this recovery strategy, in cooperation with the New Brunswick Department ofNatural Resources. The strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39–41). It was developed in cooperation or consultation with:

 ·        Aboriginal groups –

Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Maritime Aboriginal People's Council

MAWIW council

Millbrook First Nation 

Native Council of Nova Scotia

New Brunswick Aboriginal People’s Council   

Union of New Brunswick Indians

Union of Nova Scotia Indians  

 ·        Environmental non-government groups –

The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Atlantic Region

The Nature Trust of New Brunswick

 ·        Industry –


H.J. Crabbe & Sons Ltd.

J.D. Irving Ltd.


New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners

Nova Scotia Power

Southern New Brunswick Forest Products Marketing Board

StoraEnso North America

York-Sunbury-Charlotte ForestProducts Marketing Board

·        Other

Fundy National Park

New Brunswick Department of Tourism and Parks

Roosevelt Campobello International Park

One private landowner


Boreal felt lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) is an endangered cyanolichen. This foliose lichen is most often found on balsam fir in cool, humid, oceanic climates. In 1902, the first sighting of boreal felt lichen in the world occurred on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, but the lichen has not been seen there since. The only known extant sites of the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen occur in Nova Scotia.

Although 46 sites of boreal felt lichen had been documented in Nova Scotia between 1980 and 1995, only 1 of these sites remained by 2006. Using a geographic information system (GIS) algorithm, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour located a new site in 2004. In the interim, the algorithm has led researchers to discover seven more sites. As of March 2006, there were nine known occupied sites hosting a total of 31 boreal felt lichen thalli and many sites identified as potential habitat that had yet to be surveyed.

The Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen faces complex threats to its survival: the lichen is cryptic and difficult to identify; the size of the known population is small; air pollution, which contributed to the extirpation of boreal felt lichen from New Brunswick, is both locally occurring and transported from the United States; the species lacks charisma; and there is still much unknown about the species and its habitat. Yet there are also encouraging results from the GIS habitat algorithm, cooperative efforts with forestry companies, and the formation of a Recovery Team for the lichen.

The overall goal of this recovery strategy is a self-sustaining population of boreal felt lichen, Atlantic population, with no reduction of current range. The recovery activities endorsed in this recovery strategy will be carried out in part or in whole within the next five years (2006–2011). The objectives of the recovery strategy are to 1) maintain thalli and habitat at sites where boreal felt lichen is known to occur; 2) mitigate threats to boreal felt lichen; and 3) undertake research to fill knowledge gaps and refine the identification of critical habitat.

These objectives will be achieved through recovery actions that are delineated as research, monitoring, management, education, or stewardship. Recovery actions include the following:


·       Determine the life cycle, growth rate, life history, genetic diversity, population dynamics, and minimum viable population size.

·       Identify critical habitat (features and characteristics of habitat that are limiting to the species’ ability to recover).

·       Identify sources of air pollution and the lichen’s sensitivity to specific pollutants.

·       Identify practices to mitigate human disturbances in and surrounding boreal felt lichen habitat.

·       Explore methods of population and habitat enhancement.


·       Monitor known occupied sites.

·       Monitor threats.

·       Monitor habitat characteristics at historical and unoccupied suitable habitat.


·       Manage boreal felt lichen habitat at a landscape scale.

·       Review forestry management practices as they pertain to boreal felt lichen recovery.


·       Provide accessible, high-quality educational materials.

·       Raise profile among pollution reduction programs.


·       Foster cooperative relationships with landowners, foresters, industry, and volunteers.


Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: