Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen
Scientific Name: Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis
Other/Previous Names: Oldgrowth Specklebelly
Taxonomy Group: Lichens
Range: British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2010
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern
Image of Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen
Like all lichens, this plant is a fungus and an alga growing as a unit. It is large (5 to 12 cm across), broad-lobed, and loosely attached. The dull upper surface is a pale greenish-blue that is usually smooth, although short stiff hairs may appear and make it feel rough. The top is also often weakly dimpled. This is the only North American lichen with a spotted lower surface (tiny white spots on a pale brownish background), a white medulla, and torn lobe margins. The underneath is also wrinkled and matted with short tufts of hair. The lobes are short to elongate, thin, stiff and brittle; they loosely overlap and measure 1.5 to 3 cm across.
Distribution and Population
The species is endemic to the Pacific Northwest. It is known to occur in six locations in Canada, all of them in British Columbia. It is more widely distributed in Washington and Oregon. Of the Canadian sites, only one, located in the upper Chilliwack Valley, has been verified recently. Two other populations are likely extirpated, and the status of the remaining three locations is not known. In at least two locations, the populations consist of a single plant. About half the specimens recently examined showed signs of environmental stress. Although they contained reproductive organs, they evidently were having very low reproductive success compared with southern specimens.
The plant is restricted in Canada to sheltered old-growth forest ecosystems in British Columbia. It is found at low to moderate elevations in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone. It occupies at least five of the ten sub-zones, which suggests that the plant is widely but sparsely distributed. It colonizes a wide assortment of trees and shrubs, but occurs most frequently on conifers. It is very slow at becoming established, but can become locally abundant with time. The climatic conditions of the habitat in B.C. are highly oceanic and markedly humid. Associated species include Sword Fern, False Azalea, Alaska Blueberry, Oval-leaf Blueberry and Dwarf Dogwood.
Although the plants possess sexual organs, their reproduction seems to occur through vegetative means, by the production and dispersal of spores. The spores can be dispersed by water, wind or animals. Migratory birds likely carry spores long distances in their feathers and on their feet.
Natural causes of mortality in this species include fire, wind, and insect outbreaks. Prolonged periods of wet weather may also be damaging. Selective harvesting and forest clearing are the only activities likely to affect the species throughout its range. The lichen is highly sensitive to logging, which is blamed for the extirpation of one population on Vancouver Island. It is not likely to become established in the plantation forests that are replacing old-growth forests in many portions of coastal British Columbia. Global warming and deteriorating air quality could become limiting factors.
Federal ProtectionMore information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
A recently confirmed population occurs in an ecological reserve and is protected by the Ecological Reserves Act. Other sites, situated on crown lands managed by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, are vulnerable to logging.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
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.
10 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Assessments (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Management Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010)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”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. 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 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.
Recovery Document Posting Plans
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