Scientific Name: Baccharis halimifolia
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2011
Last COSEWIC Designation: Threatened
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.
Eastern Baccharis is a perennial, salt marsh shrub of the Aster family. In Canada, it is 1 to 3 metres tall and deciduous with alternate gray-green leaves. Male and female flowers occur on different plants. It blooms in late summer with inflorescences of tiny flowers that can be very numerous on larger shrubs. The brilliant white pappus (bristles) on the seeds makes female plants easy to detect in late summer and early fall.
In Canada, Eastern Baccharis is rare, localized and 400+ km disjunct from the next nearest occurrence in northern Massachusetts. Eastern Baccharis is the only native representative of its genus and subtribe in Canada. The species is used horticulturally in the United States. Baccharis species contain an array of chemicals used medicinally, including some with potential for cancer treatment, but formal investigation of their properties has been limited. American First Nations have used some species in the treatment of sores and wounds, and as antibacterials and emetics. Eastern Baccharis has been introduced to and has become a problematic invasive in Mediterranean Europe and Australia and it is an agricultural weed in some U.S. states.
The species is an Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora species. A rare Canadian disjunct shrub restricted to very specific salt marsh habitat in southern Nova Scotia. Its coastal habitat is declining due to increasing shoreline development. Further, climate change effects, including rising sea level and increasing and more frequent storm surges, will cause habitat loss and degradation as well as impact individuals over the next few decades.
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments conducted under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.
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 (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species.
For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern).
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 15
Data Deficient: 2
Not at Risk: 6
Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).
As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.
Please submit your comments by
March 4, 2013, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations
October 4, 2013, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.