Recovery Strategy for the Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) in Canada [Final] 2012

  1. COSEWIC Species Assessment Information
  2. Species Status Information
  3. Species Information
  4. Threats
  5. Population and Distribution Objectives
  6. Broad Strategies and General Approaches to Meet Objectives
  7. Critical Habitat
  8. Measuring Progress
  9. Statement on Actions Plans
  10. References

Species at Risk Act
Recovery Strategy Series


Parks Canada Agency. 2012. Recovery Strategy for the Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa. vi + 61 pp.

For copies of the recovery strategy, or for additional information on species at risk, including COSEWIC Status Reports, residence descriptions, action plans, and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry (

Parks Canada Agency collection.

�galement disponible en fran�ais sous le titre
« Programme de r�tablissement du pt�l�a trifoli� (Ptelea trifoliata) au Canada »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment,
2012. All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-1-100-19166-9
Catalogue no. En3-4/117-2012E-PDF

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

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996) agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of recovery strategies for listed Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened species and are required to report on progress within five years.

The Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency and Environment Canada (the Minister of the Environment) is the competent minister for the recovery of the Common Hoptree and has prepared this strategy, as per section 37 of SARA. It has been prepared in cooperation with Caldwell, Walpole Island, and Six Nations First Nations; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, including Ontario Parks; Long Point Region Conservation Authority; Nature Conservancy of Canada; Ontario Nature; Carolinian Canada Coalition; and experts John Ambrose, Jane Bowles, and Peter Kevan.

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 Parks Canada Agency and Environment Canada, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Common Hoptree and Canadian society as a whole.

This recovery strategy will be followed by one or more action plans that will provide information on recovery measures to be taken by Parks Canada Agency and Environment Canada and other jurisdictions and/or organizations involved in the conservation of the species. Implementation of this strategy is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.

The Parks Canada Agency led the development of this federal recovery strategy, working together with the other competent minister(s) for this species under the Species at Risk Act. The Chief Executive Officer, upon recommendation of the relevant Park Superintendent(s) and Field Unit Superintendent(s), hereby approves this document indicating that Species at Risk Act requirements related to recovery strategy development have been fulfilled in accordance with the Act.

Recommended by:
Marian Stranak, Superintendent, Point Pelee National Park of Canada, Parks Canada Agency

Recommended by:
Geoffrey Hancock, Field Unit Superintendent, Southwestern Ontario Field Unit, Parks Canada Agency

Approved by:
Alan Latourelle, Chief Executive Officer, Parks Canada Agency

A detailed species description, following recovery strategy guidelines of the day, was prepared by Dougan & Associates (2006) as part of recovery planning for Lake Erie Sand Spit Savannas in Canada. Additional background information was gathered and assembled into the recovery strategy template by James Kamstra, Melanie Croft and James MacKay of AECOM Canada (formerly Gartner-Lee). The recovery components of the recovery strategy were developed during a two-day recovery strategy writing workshop involving the following participants who provided significant input into the formation of this document: Vicki McKay, Lindsay Rodger, Gary Allen, Kim Borg and Dan Reive (PCA), Josie and Lonnie Dodge (Caldwell First Nation), Clint Jacobs and Aimee Johnson (Walpole Island First Nation Heritage Centre), Paul General (Six Nations/ Haudenosaunee Confederacy), Sandy Dobbyn and Jennifer Hoare (Ontario Parks, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources [OMNR]), Amy Brant and Karine Beriault (OMNR), Paul Gagnon (Long Point Region Conservation Authority), Mhairi McFarlane (Nature Conservancy of Canada), Maria Papoulias (Ontario Nature), Jane Bowles (University of Western Ontario), Jarmo Jalava (Carolinian Canada Coalition), John Ambrose (botanical consultant), and James Kamstra and James MacKay. Thanks are also due to workshop facilitators Steve and Cobi Sauder (KAYAK Consulting). A draft document was then assembled by James Kamstra and James MacKay. Mike Oldham, Wasyl Bakowsky, Don Sutherland, Martina Furrer, and Mikhail Paramonov (Natural Heritage Information Centre, OMNR); Rob Tervo, Amy Brant, Donald Kirk, and Allen Woodliffe (OMNR); Sandy Dobbyn; Mhairi McFarlane; Maria Papoulias and Mark Carabetta (Ontario Nature); John Ambrose; Robert Ritchie (formerly Niagara Parks Commission), Dan Lebedyk (Essex Region Conservation Authority), and Graham Buck (Ontario Stewardship) provided significant records, data layers, and/or insight into species observations. Marie Archambault (PCA) and Sandy Dobbyn, Laura Bjorgan, and Melody Cairns (Ontario Parks) are thanked for their contributions to critical habitat development on PCA and Ontario Parks' properties respectively. Josh Keitel and Kevin Leclair (PCA) completed critical habitat and Canadian distribution mapping and extent of occurrence calculations, while Richard Pelltier (U. S. Geological Survey) determined the Canadian range extent. Allan Harris (Northern Bioscience) is thanked for his contributions to the Insect Herbivores section. Valerie Minelga (PCA) reviewed the strategic environmental assessment, now part of Appendix A. Thanks are also extended to the following reviewers for their valuable input: Marie Archambault, Briar Howes, Kent Prior, Marian Stranak, and Kara Vlasman (PCA); Lisa Isaacman, Ken Tuininga, Madeline Austen, and Krista Holmes (Canadian Wildlife Service � Ontario Region); Marie-Jose Ribeyron (Environment Canada, Headquarters); Rhonda Donley and Anita Imrie (OMNR); John Ambrose; Mark Carabetta; Sandy Dobbyn; Clint Jacobs; Jarmo Jalava; Peter Kevan (University of Guelph, Environmental Biology); Mhairi McFarlane; James MacKay; and Maria Papoulias. The recovery strategy was edited and placed into its current format by Vicki McKay.

The Common Hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata), designated as Threatened in Canada, is a short-lived, shade intolerant tree of diminutive stature. It is found primarily on sandy, well-drained, often dry, naturally-disturbed shorelines, in adjacent open areas, and on alvars. These habitats are naturally limited in their distribution and thus Common Hoptree is always believed to have been rare in Canada where its range is primarily restricted to the north shore of Lake Erie and the western Lake Erie islands. A few inland populations occur along historic shorelines in southern Ontario. Male and female trees, usually separate, do not occur at all sites. Pollinators are required and although the seeds are wind-borne, they do not typically travel far.

The species, at the northern edge of its range, occurs in seven, naturally-fragmented core areas (Middle Island, Pelee Island, Essex County [including Point Pelee National Park], Walpole Island First Nation, Rondeau Provincial Park/Erieau, Port Burwell Provincial Park, and the Regional Municipality of Niagara). The largest occur at the east and west ends of Lake Erie, as well as on Middle and Pelee Islands in the western basin of Lake Erie. Smaller populations are scattered along the intervening Lake Erie shoreline, as well as at Walpole Island, along the Niagara River, and on historic beach ridges near Thamesville and Brantford. Thirty-five of 39 populations are extant. Of those remaining, one has been transplanted, one has been lost, and two are considered historic. Many others are of cultivated origin. The majority (possibly 96%) of Canadian trees are found in a 1.75 km2 area within the mainland portion of Point Pelee National Park. The remaining individuals can be found within a relatively small area of occupancy.

Range-wide, populations appear to be in a slight decline. Primary threats include the impacts of landscape management; hyperabundant, nesting Double-crested Cormorants; insect herbivores; altered coastal processes; habitat succession; and invasive, exotic plants.

The Common Hoptree population and distribution objectives are:

The broad strategies to be taken to address the threats to the survival and recovery of the species are presented in Section 6.2, Strategic Direction for Recovery.

This recovery strategy identifies critical habitat for the Common Hoptree in Canada, to the extent possible at this time, based on the best available information. Occupancy-based approaches (suitable, occupied vegetation types where available and an area within which critical habitat [based on biophysical characteristics described] is found around known populations) are used. Activities likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat have been identified, while a schedule of studies lists the additional steps required to complete identification. Methods of habitat conservation on different lands are also summarized.

One or more action plans related to this recovery strategy will be completed by June 2016.

Recovery of the Common Hoptree in Canada is considered biologically and technically feasible. The species meets all four criteria for assessing the feasibility of recovery presented in the draft Species at Risk Act Policies (Government of Canada 2009), as described below.

  1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.

    Yes. Substantial reproductive populations remain in the protected areas of Point Pelee National Park (mainland and Middle Island), Fish Point and Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserves, Rondeau Provincial Park/Erieau, Point Abino, Bertie Township/Fort Erie, Port Burwell Provincial Park, and along the edge of West Shore Road on Pelee Island. At least seven additional sites have more than five trees of reproductive age. These populations will help to ensure the survival of Common Hoptree and could act as sources for
    augmenting existing populations or repatriating extirpated populations if feasible.
  2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.

    Yes. Sufficient habitat is currently available to support the species, particularly in its core Canadian range along the north shore of Lake Erie. Ambrose and Aboud (1984) actually suggested that the species has not fully exploited available shoreline habitats. Suitable habitat is constantly being maintained and/or restored through natural coastal processes acting in the dynamic shoreline environment where Common Hoptree is typically found (Ambrose 2002).
  3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.

    Yes. There are no unavoidable threats to the species or its habitat that preclude recovery. Human actions related to shoreline modification and inappropriate recreational use can be curbed through education, stewardship and enforcement. Further alteration of natural processes can be prevented and work can be done to restore the damage already done. Steps can and are being taken to manage hyperabundant species, habitat succession, and invasive, exotic species impacts. Broader efforts also continue to address the effects of climate change. The degree of threat posed by identified insect herbivores is unknown. However, at the present time, they are not known to occur at all Common Hoptree sites.
  4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.

    Yes. The recovery techniques required (see #3 above) are scientifically well-established and can be effective, and so are expected to positively contribute to the survival of the species.


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