Boreal felt lichen, Atlantic population (Erioderma pedicellatum) recovery strategy: chapter 2


2.1   Recovery Feasibility

Recovery of the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen is believed feasible, although the challenges are formidable and the results of overcoming them uncertain. The Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen has an extremely small population size, with only nine sites known as of March 2006 and a total of 31 thalli (Cameron and Neily 2006). The small population size limits the ability of experimental studies to generate meaningful results. With a 30-year generation time, positive results of recovery efforts may not be apparent in the short term. Air pollution originating from coal-burning electricity generating plants and urban centres in the U.S. Midwest is believed to have been a significant factor in the disappearance of boreal felt lichen from New Brunswick (New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources 2006). There are significant challenges associated with reducing air pollution, especially outside Canada.

Although air pollution and forestry management practices are considered the most significant threats, the location and investigation of new discoveries of occupied boreal felt lichen sites may indicate that the additional threats listed in section 1.3, such as herbivory and land development, must be actively mitigated. The impact of droughts, hurricanes, and forest fires can be swift and irrevocable for boreal felt lichen. It is also difficult to predict the presence of a pest that may cause boreal felt lichen to be threatened by a chemical pesticide or herbicide.

Overcoming some of these challenges is possible. A coarse quality filter approach to identifying potential habitat in the form of a habitat algorithm is in development. The geographic information system (GIS) algorithm has identified approximately 188 000 ha within Nova Scotia that may represent suitable habitat (Cameron and Neily 2006). Because eight of the known occupied sites that have been identified since 2004 were located using habitat suitability mapping (Cameron 2004), more sites may be discovered as they are surveyed and as the algorithm is further developed and verified. Two of the known occupied sites have both juvenile and mature thalli, indicating that reproduction is occurring (Cameron and Neily 2006).

Air pollution and forestry management practices have the most potential to harm boreal felt lichen. Air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are a threat to the health of many other species, including humans, which has resulted in a greater awareness of the problem. Boreal felt lichen benefits from pollution prevention campaigns and industrial technologies to reduce emissions. The forestry industry has already taken an interest in the protection of this lichen, and its input will lead to practical recommendations for forestry practices in the vicinity of boreal felt lichen habitat and unoccupied potential sites.

Cooperative research with managers of the boreal population should enable a number of the knowledge gaps to be filled, resulting in an increased capacity to make management decisions for the Atlantic population. Recovery efforts for boreal felt lichen are seldom invasive or stressful for the species and result in only a low impact on the surrounding environment. If the impact and level of threat posed by acid precipitation and air pollution decrease or do not drastically increase, recovery of the Atlantic population is feasible

2.2   Recovery Goal

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 size required for a self-sustaining population cannot be determined at this time due to limitations of the available data.

2.3   Recovery Objectives 

The short-term objectives of the recovery strategy for the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen in Canada from 2006 to 2011 are to:

1)     maintain thalli and habitat at sites where boreal felt lichen is known to occur (currently nine sites with a total of 31 thalli);

2)     mitigate threats to boreal felt lichen; and

3)     undertake research to fill knowledge gaps and refine the identification of critical habitat.

2.4   Broad Strategy to Be Taken to Meet Recovery Objectives

The recovery strategies outlined in this section (Table 1) will facilitate the achievement of the recovery objectives. Recovery strategies will be identified as research, monitoring, management, education, or stewardship. To enable evaluation of recovery efforts, short-term recovery goals have been set and appear at the conclusion of sections 2.4.1 through 2.4.5, under the heading “Outcomes and deliverables by or before 2011.” An action plan associated with this recovery strategy will include a detailed and prioritized schedule for these activities (section 2.8).  


Table 1. Tabular summary of recovery approaches for the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen.
Prioritya Broad approach/strategy Objective addressed General steps  Effect
Urgent ·         Determine life cycle, growth rate, life history, genetic diversity, population dynamics, and minimum viable population size 3

·         Collaborate with researchers studying boreal population

·         Design and prioritize experimental studies

Increases knowledge base, guides recovery actions and management decisions
Urgent ·         Identify critical habitat 1, 3

·         Map habitat suitability to search for potential sites

·         Identify critical habitat

Increased capacity to protect and enhance habitat
Necessary ·         Identify sources of air pollution and the lichen’s sensitivity to specific pollutants 2 ·         Consult national and provincial monitoring programs to identify point sources Guides management and recovery efforts
Secondary ·         Identify practices to mitigate human disturbances to boreal felt lichen habitat 3

·         Model historical, current, and potential regional distribution in relation to climate and site factors

·         Interpretation/reconstruction of historical trends in acidification

Guides enhancement and recovery efforts
Secondary ·         Explore methods of population and habitat enhancement 3

·         Consult current research on thallus transplantation

·         Determine feasibility for transplanting within the Atlantic population

·         Identify other possibilities for enhancement

Potential for population augmentation/ expansion
Urgent ·         Monitor occupied sites All ·         Develop reliable, repeatable, long-term monitoring tools and techniques to locate, monitor, and assess Enables    evaluation of recovery efforts and guides recovery efforts
Urgent ·         Monitor threats All ·         Assess use of available monitoring of threats by other researchers or government departments Enables    evaluation of recovery efforts and guides recovery efforts
Secondary ·         Monitor habitat characteristics All ·         Develop monitoring tools and techniques to assess habitat parameters of sites, such as humidity, forest composition, and age structure, and, at the landscape level, monitor changes in balsam fir and age structure Enables    evaluation of recovery efforts and guides recovery efforts
Urgent ·         Manage boreal felt lichen habitat at landscape scale All

·         Locate boreal felt lichen sites

·         Communicate with landowners of occupied sites

Helps to maintain current distribution
Secondary ·         Review forest management practices as they pertain to boreal felt lichen recovery All

·         Review literature and best management practices as they pertain to boreal felt lichen

·         Communicate with stakeholders to develop feasible forestry practices and recommendations for the area surrounding the lichen and potential habitats

Helps maintain existing sites and potential future sites
Necessary ·         Provide high-quality educational materials All

·         Assess current boreal felt lichen communications materials

·         Reprint and design necessary materials

·         Create a basic web site

·         Distribute communications materials

Raises the public profile of boreal felt lichen
Necessary ·         Raise profile among pollution reduction programs 2 ·         Inform organizers of appropriate air pollution reduction campaigns about boreal felt lichen with the intention that they might use the species as another example of the consequences of air pollution Indirect action to reduce air pollution
Necessary ·         Foster cooperative relationships with landowners, foresters, industry, and volunteers All

·         Develop an identification training workshop

·         Develop a voluntary stewardship agreement

Increases capacity of recovery efforts beyond researchers

a Priorities are defined as follows: Urgent = top priority action, without which population will decline; Necessary = action needed to evaluate and guide recovery actions; Secondary = action beneficial if urgent actions are already under way.


2.4.1      Research

Actions completed or under way

Habitat suitability mapping

The predictive habitat model for boreal felt lichen used by Robert Cameron has identified approximately 188 000 ha of habitat in Nova Scotia at 24 000 sites (R. Cameron pers. comm. 2006). This is a coarse filter approach, which is undergoing further development and verification. An improved method of distinguishing balsam fir stands from black spruce stands on aerial photographs is under development and is expected to increase the predictive ability of the algorithm (R. Cameron pers. comm. 2006). Both Stora Enso North America and Bowater Mersey Paper Company have incorporated the algorithm into their planning strategies (R. Cameron pers. comm. 2005).

Air quality research

The Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour is currently undertaking an airshed management framework. The first phase will consist of information gathering (local emission sources need to be identified, qualified, and characterized) and gap analysis. This information will serve as inputs into future airshed modelling.

Once key pollution variables (types, levels, etc.) have been determined and the variables and their importance relative to other boreal felt lichen habitat requirements established, future airshed modelling may give an assessment of which airsheds are best to sustain the lichen. The Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour has also completed a provincial lichen air quality monitoring program using permanent sampling plots. This project will measure the effects of air pollution on lichens and may help determine problem areas for boreal felt lichen.

Actions to be initiated

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

The small number of known sites and thalli in the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen is unlikely to provide enough data to allow the determination of boreal felt lichen life cycle, growth rate, life history, genetic diversity, population dynamics, and minimum viable population size. Collaborative research with individuals and agencies working in Newfoundland and Labrador on the boreal population of boreal felt lichen would strengthen the validity of these experimental studies. The population of boreal felt lichen in Newfoundland and Labrador makes it feasible to undertake experimental studies that would yield a better understanding of areas where there are current knowledge gaps at the population level.

Some of the priority topics for collaborative research in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia include assessment of the genetic relationships between the Atlantic and boreal populations of boreal felt lichen, dispersal ability, age to maturity, reproductive life span, growth rate, survivorship of maturity classes, minimum viable population, habitat requirements for all stages of life, whether the population is affected by small population dynamics, the feasibility of ex situ propagation and a transplant program, the significance of Frullania, and substrate types and characteristics in boreal felt lichen thalli initiation.

Identify critical habitat

For both occupied and unoccupied habitat, the relevant scale for protection and biological requirements as they limit recovery need further research and assessment. Once scalar issues of habitat are resolved and clarified, landscape- and province-level analysis (such as GIS) will be undertaken to understand the quality and quantity of habitat necessary for species recovery. Critical habitat must be identified to ensure an adequate understanding of boreal felt lichen’s habitat needs and to activate the protection and enforcement available through the Species at Risk Act. Detailed information on the identification of critical habitat is given in section 2.5.

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

It is important to identify the lichen’s sensitivity to specific types and levels of pollutants and under what conditions (timing, duration, life stage of exposure, etc.) these pose the greatest threat. Monitoring local air quality in and around areas where differences in abundance have been noted will provide valuable information to aid this investigation. By identifying local point sources of air pollution coupled with atmospheric conditions, it will be possible to consider the impact of these point sources on the location and survival of boreal felt lichen. There may also be some value in comparing historical levels of pollutants in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with boreal felt lichen distributions.

Identify practices to mitigate human disturbance to boreal felt lichen habitat

Occupied sites will be monitored for evidence of past or present forest practices to determine how the practices may have impacted the lichen and its habitat. In association with the research necessary to determine critical habitat, a prescribed distance surrounding occupied sites of boreal felt lichen that should be only minimally impacted will be established. In addition, an optimum distance will be determined for use as a recommendation in stewardship agreements, which would likely be a more generous distance than that indicated as critical habitat (and protected by legislation). The purpose of the recommendation is to increase recovery potential and provide the opportunity to monitor adjacent stands for new colonization. Additional practices to mitigate human disturbance will be identified, related to thinning and selective cut tolerances of boreal felt lichen, blowdown reduction guidelines, and road construction for lands surrounding critical habitat.

Explore methods of population and habitat enhancement  

To reestablish previously occupied habitat, transplantation may be required. Because the Atlantic population is so small, transplanting thalli from this population is not recommended. Transplanting experiments with individuals from the boreal population may be appropriate. Once a successful technique is developed in Newfoundland, transplanting individuals from the Atlantic population may be considered. More discussion about transplantation and its role for the Atlantic population is required. Other habitat characteristics of boreal felt lichen may also be considered in relation to methods to enhance and restore boreal felt lichen, such as Frullania transplantation.


Outcomes or deliverables by or before 2011 

·       Results of research incorporated into a revised recovery strategy, which should provide insight into the potential for restoring boreal felt lichen and its habitat.

·       Evaluation of which pollutants cause the greatest threat to boreal felt lichen.

·       Outstanding research topics prioritized and listed in action plan (see section 2.8).

·       Critical habitat definition refined.

·       Guidelines developed for protecting boreal felt lichen habitat through voluntary actions (for use in habitat stewardship agreements).

·       Habitat parameters necessary to determine unoccupied sites with potential boreal felt lichen habitat identified.

·       Five unoccupied sites identified with suitable habitat for boreal felt lichen where landowners could be approached to enter into voluntary agreements to protect potential habitat for the species.

2.4.2      Monitoring

Actions to be initiated

Monitor occupied sites

As boreal felt lichen sites are identified, continued monitoring will be necessary to assess the success of recovery efforts and gather data to support research. Monitoring will assess the overall condition of the thalli, habitat characteristics, and apparent threats (see next section). Monitoring the health and succession of individual thalli and colonies as well as the long-term habitat conditions would also address some research questions. Monitoring methods will be determined after reviewing protocols from existing programs, such as the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network of Environment Canada.

Monitor threats

Information on monitoring 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 boreal felt lichen. In addition, it will be necessary to undertake focused air quality monitoring around boreal felt lichen sites. Other threats, such as forestry activity and gastropod grazing, will have to be monitored directly.

Monitor habitat characteristics

Microhabitat parameters such as humidity, forest composition, forest age structure, indicator species, and herbivory should be monitored at occupied boreal felt lichen sites to better define what boreal felt lichen needs to survive. It would also be useful to monitor these parameters at unoccupied sites and compare them with those at occupied sites to understand habitat preference throughout the lichen’s life cycle and to model predictions about a site’s ability to support the lichen through time. This kind of analysis might help determine, for example, if boreal felt lichen occurs in even-aged forests with frequent stand initiating events or if it is generally in uneven-aged forests with infrequent disturbance events. Permanent air quality sampling plots managed by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources since 1965 may provide some insights into the impact of air quality on the distribution and abundance of boreal felt lichen.


Outcomes or deliverables by or before 2011

·       Boreal felt lichen monitoring program in place, with distribution and abundance data recorded in the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre database.

·       A process for archiving data from threat and habitat monitoring developed.

2.4.3      Management

Actions completed or under way

Conservation and management

Efforts are under way to determine the effects of pollution and forestry management on cyanolichens (Richardson and Cameron 2004). Management options that have been identified include enhancing propagule spread, transplantation, limiting the effects of acid rain, and changing forestry practices (Richardson and Cameron 2004).

Recovery leadership 

In September 2004, an organizational meeting was held to facilitate the formation of a Recovery Team for the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen. The province of Nova Scotia chairs the Recovery Team. The team is made up of government representatives from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, lichen experts, and academia. More members are being added to the team to ensure that all relevant experts are represented. In the unlikely event that boreal felt lichen is rediscovered in New Brunswick, members of the Recovery Team are prepared to initiate recovery actions in that province. The Recovery Team is also coordinating a program to monitor the status of cyanolichens in Nova Scotia.

Actions to be initiated 

Manage boreal felt lichen at landscape scale

Management decisions on boreal felt lichen will be based on two factors: the protection of occupied sites and the protection of a network of unoccupied sites that, on the basis of habitat/vegetation characteristics and consistency with predictive algorithms, may be capable of supporting boreal felt lichen. The latter sites could provide areas for the introduction or relocation of boreal felt lichen in the event that known sites are deemed to be at significant risk. These unoccupied sites may also provide opportunities for protection through stewardship initiatives.

Using habitat suitability mapping, more boreal felt lichen sites are likely to be discovered and protected through legislation and stewardship initiatives. Efforts to communicate with landowners and promote stewardship are as important as legislative protection of habitat. The experience and knowledge of landowners will be important in making management decisions.  

Review forest management practices as they pertain to boreal felt lichen recovery 

Because boreal felt lichen is an arboreal lichen, forest management practices are important to recovery efforts. A review of literature and best forestry management practices for boreal felt lichen will provide a baseline for discussions with foresters regarding how they can support boreal felt lichen recovery efforts. A review of literature exploring links between acid deposition and forestry practices as they pertain to forest health and productivity outcomes is also very relevant to understanding the dynamics of boreal felt lichen habitat. It will be necessary to determine best practices for forest management: in the vicinity of boreal felt lichen sites, in unoccupied potential sites, and to maintain balsam fir across the landscape. These practices would be outlined in voluntary stewardship agreements. 

Outcomes or deliverables by or before 2011

·       Habitat suitability mapping algorithm used to identify 250 sites with potential habitat, which will then be surveyed for boreal felt lichen.

·       Best forestry practices developed for boreal felt lichen sites and their surrounding area, as well as for unoccupied potential habitat.

2.4.4      Education

Actions completed or under way

Capacity building

In 2002–03, funding from the Government of  Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk was granted to the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources for a project entitled “Building Stewardship Capacity for the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) in Atlantic Canada.” This project included a two-day workshop and the creation and distribution of a brochure and identification card for boreal felt lichen. The project laid a foundation for the initial steps towards recovery of the boreal felt lichen (MacGregor et al. 2003).

Identification workshop

In2004, a workshop was given to Stora Enso North America by Robert Cameron of the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour to explain how to identify boreal felt lichen and its habitat. Additional workshops should be organized, particularly with other forestry companies.

Actions to be initiated

Provide high-quality educational materials 

A brochure and identification card (created as part of the “Building Stewardship Capacity for the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) in Atlantic Canada” project) are the only communications materials currently available to the public. They provide identification characteristics and other general species information. These will be assessed to see if any changes are needed and, if necessary, will be reprinted. Materials necessary to support stewardship activities, such as presentations, identification workshop materials, and a basic web site, will be designed. Boreal felt lichen lacks charisma and is not well known, but the right educational materials and delivery may induce the interest of industry, foresters, students, and naturalists and stimulate them to search for the lichen.

Raise profile among pollution reduction programs 

Boreal felt lichen will benefit from reductions in air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. It is not reasonable to initiate a massive campaign to reduce local and transboundary sources of pollution for boreal felt lichen. Instead, the organizers of appropriate-scale pollution reduction programs should be informed of the boreal felt lichen so that they can use it as a case study to support their programs.

Outcomes or deliverables by or before 2011

·       Educational materials developed or refined.

·       Basic web site on boreal felt lichen developed, outlining general species information, identification characteristics, stewardship opportunities, and a summary of recovery efforts.

·       At least four pollution prevention programs contacted and provided with boreal felt lichen resources.

2.4.5      Stewardship

Actions completed or under way

Both Stora Enso North America and Bowater Mersey Paper Company have incorporated the algorithm used for the habitat suitability mapping for boreal felt lichen into their planning strategies. This cooperation in searching for new locations has led to improvements in the predictive ability of the algorithm.

Actions to be initiated

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

A boreal felt lichen identification workshop will be further developed. Training will allow participants to recognize potential habitat, search for the lichen, and identify it. Workshop participants will be given an opportunity to practise their skills, which will enable them to assist with any of the activities listed above under “Monitoring.”

Stewardship is a key component of the recovery of any species at risk that uses habitat on private lands. A stewardship agreement template will be drafted. The agreement will identify the area the steward agrees to protect, suggest the best management practices the steward should use, and list the activities the steward should avoid within that area to support recovery efforts for the lichen. Stewards will include landowners of occupied and unoccupied potential boreal felt lichen sites. These agreements will be voluntary and flexible.

Education and stewardship initiatives are closely linked. It is likely that the educational activities from the previous section will motivate some concerned citizens to take actions that support recovery efforts, by searching for the boreal felt lichen, reducing their contribution to air pollution, or simply telling others about the lichen.

Outcomes or deliverables by or before 2011

·       Voluntary stewardship agreements with landowners of occupied and unoccupied habitat prepared.

·       Identification workshops held for volunteers, landowners, and foresters upon request.

·       Stewardship program developed to communicate the importance of the lichen and ensure that educational materials are available to all stakeholders.

2.5   Critical Habitat

2.5.1      Identification of boreal felt lichen critical habitat

Suitable habitat mapping provides convincing evidence that more sites of the Atlantic population will be found. Current population size and distribution of the lichen must first be determined to adequately describe critical habitat. Ecological requisites and physical attributes of critical habitat in Nova Scotia require further study. Critical habitat is described in this document to the extent possible given the best information available at present, including the locations of the nine known sites.

Critical habitat description

The existing boreal felt lichen sites share the following habitat characteristics:

·       They occur within 25 km of the sea coast at an elevation up to 300 m above sea level.

·       They are in forested habitats with low open crown closure due to natural forest dynamics.

·       They are found typically in balsam fir stands, on north-facing trunks of mature and overmature trees.

·       The habitat is cool and moist and remains relatively constant throughout the year.

·       The surrounding forest provides moisture retention, forest integrity, protection from weather events that may cause blowdowns, and the ability to intercept some local air pollution.

·       They are often located on or at the base of slopes with northern or northeastern exposure.

Identification of critical habitat sites

The federal Species at Risk Act defines critical habitat as “the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species and that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species.” Information on the implications of the identification of critical habitat is provided in Appendix B.

Under the NSESA, the province of Nova Scotia may identify “core habitat”, which is defined in the act as “specific areas of habitat essential for the long-term survival and recovery of endangered or threatened species”. The process for identifying core habitat is not yet developed as the emphasis as been on other existing and tested tools for habitat protection. As yet, it is still unclear how the identification of critical habitat under SARA will impact the listing of “core habitat” under the NSESA and vice versa. 

As of March 2006, nine sites occupied by boreal felt lichen have been identified, eight of which were unknown when the species’ status was assessed by COSEWIC in 2002, and all of which are within 60 km of each other in eastern Halifax County, Nova Scotia (Cameron and Neily 2006). Eight of these sites are on provincial land and one is on private land. Figure 2 shows the general location of known sites of boreal felt lichen. Appendix C, giving the coordinates and directions to the boreal felt lichen sites, has been removed from the public document to protect the species and its habitat. 

There is some anecdotal evidence that this forest area surrounding each boreal felt lichen site plays an important role in maintaining the microclimate necessary for the lichen. This area surrounding the boreal felt lichen sites is also identified as critical habitat. It is difficult to determine an exact distance, because this distance may differ for each site based on factors such as topography, forest condition, tree age and health, and soil properties, such as drainage, moisture, and texture.

In 1998, Robertson recommended that a buffer of at least 20 m be observed for the boreal (Newfoundland) population of boreal felt lichen (Robertson 1998). Newfoundland and Labrador’s management plan for boreal felt lichen (Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation 2006) provides guidance to be employed by forest practitioners on a case-by-case basis in the absence of detailed researched management strategies. The recommended practices include placing a 100-m buffer around large (10 or more thalli) sites and a 30-m buffer around small (fewer than 10 thalli) boreal felt lichen sites. Recent studies on other groups of lichens (fruticose) suggest that edge effects caused by forest harvesting can occur up to 50 m into the uncut forest (Esseen and Renhorn 1998; Rheault et al. 2003).

Based on these findings, and as recommended by the Recovery Team, a 100-m radius surrounding each occupied boreal felt lichen site is included in the identified critical habitat. Further studies to determine the relevant scales for protection and biological limitations for boreal felt lichen will be used to determine if this distance is adequate. The schedule of studies for critical habitat will include developing a better understanding of the importance of adjacent balsam fir stands for boreal felt lichen reproduction.

If new occurrences are confirmed and documented, the Recovery Team will recommend that the site(s) be identified as critical habitat for boreal felt lichen. If boreal felt lichen no longer occupies a site, the area will be reevaluated to determine if it is critical habitat.

This identification of critical habitat, although incomplete, offers protection to the known sites of the Atlantic population of boreal felt lichen. Results from the activities listed in the schedule of studies (section 2.5.3) will make this definition more complete and precise and will be included in an action plan (see section 2.8).

2.5.2      Examples of activities that are likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat

Boreal felt lichen is highly cryptic and difficult to identify, and the habitat in which it occurs likely has some combination of physical and/or functional factors that are as yet poorly understood or unknown. With this clarification, federal policy (Environment Canada 2004b) defines an activity as detrimental to critical habitat when it alters the conditions of an area identified as critical habitat to the extent to which the capacity of that critical habitat to contribute to the survival or recovery of the species would be compromised.

Human activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat are modifications to the physical attributes of critical habitat, such as forest composition, microclimate environment, chemical composition of air or water, topography, geology, soil conditions, vegetation, and surface or ground hydrology.

2.5.3      Schedule of studies

The results for the following schedule of studies will be included in an action plan which will provide a more complete and precise definition of critical habitat (section 2.8). 


Study to be undertaken Should the results of these actions be incorporated in the action plan? Specific steps Timeline
Determine distribution and abundance Yes ·        Identify key habitat characteristics necessary for boreal felt lichen Preliminary complete, ongoing, summary by 2007
·        Develop habitat suitability mapping Preliminary algorithm currently in use
·        Improve predictive ability of mapping algorithm to extent possible Under way, completion by 2009
·        Set schedule to survey sites identified as most likely potential habitat Under way, completion by 2011
·        Locate, monitor, and assess health of sites Under way, completion by 2011
Improve knowledge base and understanding of habitat needs, characteristics, and threats Yes ·        Interpretation/reconstruction of historical trends in acidification Complete by 2008
·        Scheduled monitoring of sites to assess presence and level of threats and changes in habitat conditions Summary of monitoring available by 2010
·        Research/assess scale for protection and biological requirements as they limit recovery (occupied and unoccupied habitat) Complete by 2010
·        Following above: landscape- and province-level analysis (GIS, etc.) to understand quality/quantity of habitat necessary for species’ recovery Complete by 2010
·        Confirm or adjust recommendation of 100 m of critical habitat surrounding boreal felt lichen sites Complete by 2009
·        Determine microhabitat requirements Complete by 2009
·        Determine extent of impacts of airborne pollutants, acid rain Complete by 2009
Improve understanding of dispersal dynamics, reproduction requirements Yes ·        Collaborate with boreal population research Continuous
·        Determine importance of balsam fir stands adjacent to occupied sites Preliminary study by 2010
·        Determine importance of unoccupied potential habitat Preliminary study by 2010
·        Determine landscape-level relationships and requirements Preliminary study by 2010
Further identify activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat Yes ·        Review compiled critical habitat data 2007–2011
·        Augment current list as necessary 2011


2.6   Effects on Other Species

It is very likely that the results of recovery efforts for boreal felt lichen will benefit other cyanolichens and species with similar habitat needs. Restriction or alteration of forest management practices harmful to boreal felt lichen could have an indirect positive impact on plants and/or animal species in the vicinity. There will be an environmental impact from boreal felt lichen recovery efforts in terms of increased foot traffic to lichen sites, but this is not likely to be a significant impact.

2.7   Recommended Scale for Recovery

At present, a single-species approach will be pursued for the boreal felt lichen. However, in the future, it may be appropriate to move to a multispecies approach encompassing other rare cyanolichens (such as Erioderma mollissimum) if they are deemed “at risk” and require the intervention of recovery efforts to ensure their survival.

2.8   Action Plan

Two action plans will be developed for Boreal Felt Lichen.

Implementation Action Plan 

An action plan outlining how this recovery strategy will be implemented will be posted on the Species at Risk Act Public Registry within two years of the recovery strategy being posted on the registry.This will include a detailed and prioritized schedule for the implementation of the activities outlined in section 2.4 Broad strategy to be taken to meet recovery objectives.

Critical Habitat Action Plan

A second action plan which will provide a more complete and precise definition of critical habitat based on the results of activities outlined in the schedule of studies (section 2.5.3) will be posted on the Species at Risk Act Public Registry within six years of the recovery strategy being posted on the registry. 

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