Species Profile

Columbian Carpet Moss

Scientific Name: Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum
Taxonomy Group: Mosses
Range: British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2014
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern


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Quick Links: | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Columbian Carpet Moss

Description

The Columbian Carpet Moss grows in small clumps or compact tufts with stems that branch at the base and grow 2 to 6 mm tall. The leaves are about 1 mm in length, stiff, pointed, and have a distinct mid-rib. They are usually dark reddish brown and dry but may be green when wet. Male and female organs are found on separate stems.

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Distribution and Population

The Columbian Carpet Moss is found in British Columbia in Canada and in Washington, Oregon and California in the United States. The populations in Canada are concentrated in the South Okanagan Valley and near Kamloops, but this species has also been found near Spences Bridge and at one site along the Fraser River in the Cariboo area. There are currently 11 known populations of Columbian Carpet Moss in British Columbia. The populations at nine sites appear to be stable and two others may be in decline, but the long-term trends are unknown.

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Habitat

The Columbian Carpet Moss inhabits areas of semi-arid shrub-steppe and grassland characterized by hot, dry summers and cool to cold, moderately wet winters. In British Columbia, it is found in the Bunchgrass Bioclimatic Zone. Within this zone, it can grow on compact silt to sandy loam soils and it plays, along with other species of lichens and mosses, a small but important ecological role in the formation of biological soil crust.

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Biology

Sporophytes, the spore-producing generation of the Columbian Carpet Moss, have been reported only once in Canada. This may be because the male and female reproductive units are on separate plants and the likelihood of fertilization is low. The dry environment may also play a role in the frequency of sporophyte production. The moss probably disperses by fragmentation of its leaf tips.

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Threats

The most serious threats to the Columbian Carpet Moss are the conversion of shrub-steppe habitat to vineyards and habitat disturbance by domesticated animals. Other factors, to a lesser extent, include urban development, road building and erosion.

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Protection

Federal Protection

More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

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.

11 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Columbian carpet moss Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum in Canada (2004)

    Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum, the Columbian carpet moss, is one of four species of Bryoerythrophyllum in North America. It is a small, often red-brown moss that grows in small clumps or compact turfs either as pure colonies or intermixed with other mosses and lichens. Its most distinctive features are the ovate-lanceolate leaves, sharp-pointed leaf tips, and the broad, somewhat ornamented leaf mid-ribs. It is dioicous, with male and female organs on separate stems.

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment - Columbian Carpet Moss (2004)

    Designated Special Concern in May 2004. Assessment based on a new status report.
  • COSEWIC Status Appraisal Summary on the Columbian Carpet Moss Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum in Canada (2015)

    This is a small, perennial moss that is endemic to western North America. In Canada, it has a restricted distribution in the shrub-steppe of the semi-arid Southern Interior of British Columbia. Surveys have confirmed its presence from 22 sites. The species is never abundant where it is found and recent surveys have provided few new locations. The species is patchily distributed at low densities. At least one population is believed to have been lost to vineyard development. Threats include agriculture, forest encroachment as a result of fire suppression, impact by grazing animals, urban development, road improvements, and recreational impacts.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Columbian Carpet Moss (2004)

    This is a western North American endemic species. It is a small perennial species and in Canada has a restricted distribution in the shrub-steppe in semi-arid regions of British Columbia where recent surveys have confirmed its presence from 11 sites. The species is never abundant in sites where it is found and extensive surveys have provided few new locations. At least one population is believed to have been lost to cultivation (vineyard) or to stochastic events. Threats include agriculture (especially vineyards), impact by grazing animals, urban development, road improvements, and human recreational impacts. Based on known occurrences, the species appears to have a very restricted distribution. However the species is patchily distributed at low densities in large habitats not all of which have been censused.
  • Response Statement - Columbian Carpet Moss (2015)

    This is a small, perennial moss that is endemic to western North America. In Canada, it has a restricted distribution in the shrub-steppe of the semi-arid Southern Interior of British Columbia. Surveys have confirmed its presence from 22 sites. The species is never abundant where it is found and recent surveys have provided few new locations. The species is patchily distributed at low densities. At least one population is believed to have been lost to vineyard development. Threats include agriculture, forest encroachment as a result of fire suppression, impact by grazing animals, urban development, road improvements, and recreational impacts.

Management Plans

  • Management Plan for the Columbian Carpet Moss (Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum) in Canada (2012)

    Columbian carpet moss (Bryoerythrophyllum columbianum) was designated by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as Special Concern in Canada in May 2004. It was listed on the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1 in 2005. In British Columbia, the Columbian carpet moss is ranked S2S3 (imperiled to vulnerable) by the Conservation Data Centre and ranked G3G4 (vulnerable to apparently secure) globally by NatureServe. The Conservation Framework has assigned Columbian carpet moss a conservation priority 3, under Goal 1: contribute to global efforts for species and ecosystem conservation and priority 2 under Goal 3: maintain the diversity of native species and ecosystems.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (2005)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2014-2015 (2015)

    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 (October, 2014 to September, 2015) from November 23 to November 28, 2014 and from April 27 to May 1, 2015. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2014-2015 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 1 Endangered: 21 Threatened: 11 Special Concern: 21 Data Deficient: 1 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 24 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same risk status as the previous assessment.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.