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Recovery Strategy for Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum) in Canada

2. Recovery

2.1 Recovery goal

The Recovery Goal is to ensure that Deerberry persists in its natural habitat at known sites with no decline in population sizes over the short term and with increases in both number of populations and population sizes until it is deemed that the species is no longer at risk in either of the two regions where it is found in Ontario.

2.2 Protection and recovery objectives

Four objectives have been identified. These are presented in Table 4.

 

Table 4. Protection and recovery objectives
No.Protection or Recovery Objective
1Persistence of Deerberry in its current habitat at all known natural and viable reintroduction sites with population sizes remaining stable or increasing for the next 10 years and beyond
2Identification of measures necessary to mitigate threats to the species and its habitat, and implementation of mitigation as appropriate
3Completion of research and monitoring to document and assess habitat requirements, genetic diversity, life history, and population trends
4Provision of adequate habitat for species recovery through planning for, protecting and restoring existing and potential habitat, and the augmentation, reintroduction and introduction of populations into suitable habitat

2.3 Approaches to recovery

Approaches to achieve recovery objectives are prioritized and listed in Table 5. For relative priority of approaches, the recovery team has used the terms high, medium and low. High priority approaches are those needed to mitigate threats in the short term or to meet legal/regulatory requirements. Medium priority approaches are intended to address longer-term threats. Low priority approaches include general communications with the public, collaboration with other jurisdictions, surveys for new populations and research which could improve longer-term planning and management, especially at landscape and meta-population levels.

While a number of the approaches are intended to address more than one objective, they are listed under the objective that they are most closely linked to.

 

Table 5. Approaches to recovery of Deerberry in Ontario (Objective 1: Persistence of Deerberry in its current habitat at all known natural and viable reintroduction sites with population sizes remaining stable or increasing for the next 10 years and beyond)
Relative PriorityRelative TimeframeRecovery ThemeApproach to RecoveryThreats or Knowledge Gaps Addressed
HighOngoingManagement and Stewardship1.1 Continue to protect sites managed by Parks Canada Agency and Niagara Parks Commission
  • All threats
HighOngoingManagement and Stewardship1.2 Create, update and implement management plans
  • All threats
HighOngoingStewardship1.3 Continue to work with private landowner on stewardship of non-park population
  • Potential to address any or all threats
HighShort-termManagement and Stewardship1.4 Map occupancy-based habitat in each region (underway)
  • Historic, current and future habitat requirements
LowLong-termStewardship1.5 Discuss Deerberry with municipalities, including potential for finding new populations and important examples of potential habitat on private property.
  • Urbanization
LowOngoingOutreach1.6 Continue public education on Deerberry, species at risk, and species at the northern limit of their range at St. Lawrence Islands National Park (underway)
  • Trampling
LowOngoingOutreach and Collaboration1.7 Educate landowners, conservation authorities, stewardship councils, municipalities, and the general public about Deerberry habitat (underway)
  • Urbanization
  • Lack of habitat
LowLong-termCollaboration1.8 Collaborate with organizers of the Algonquin to Adirondacks (A2A) and Carolinian Canada landscape initiatives to protect habitats for species dispersal
  • Urbanization
  • Lack of habitat
LowOngoingCollaboration1.9 Collaborate with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve and St. Lawrence Parks Commission to identify and protect potential habitat for species dispersal (underway)
  • Urbanization
  • Lack of habitat

 

Table 5 (Continued). Approaches to recovery of Deerberry in Ontario (Objective 2: Identification of measures necessary to mitigate threats to the species and its habitat, and implementation of mitigation as appropriate)
Relative PriorityRelative TimeframeRecovery ThemeApproach to RecoveryThreats or Knowledge Gaps Addressed
HighOngoingManagement and Stewardship2.1 Identify further threat mitigation measures needed through management planning
  • All threats
HighOngoingStewardship2.2 Continue to work with private landowner to identify and mitigate threats to non-park population
  • Potential to address any or all threats
High - Niagara
Medium - St. Lawrence Islands
Short-termManagement2.3 Erect barriers and signage to keep park visitors away from Deerberry (underway)
  • Trampling
HighShort-termManagement2.4 Plan and effect re-routing of trails away from Deerberry populations
  • Trampling, erosion
MediumOngoingManagement2.5 Discuss with MNR success of past actions to reduce slumping elsewhere; Investigate what can be done to mitigate this threat; Implement actions as it becomes possible
  • Erosion/slumping

 

Table 5 (Continued). Approaches to recovery of Deerberry in Ontario (Objective 3: Completion of research and monitoring needed to document and assess habitat requirements, genetic diversity, life history, and population trends)
Relative PriorityRelative TimeframeRecovery ThemeApproach to RecoveryThreats or Knowledge Gaps Addressed
HighOngoingResearch3.1 Continue research on conditions required for successful seedling establishment (underway)
  • Lack of reproduction
HighOngoingResearch3.2 Study the effects of fire on propagation of the species and maintenance of habitat (underway)
  • Lack of habitat
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Competition
  • Invasive species
  • Pathogens
HighOngoingMonitoring3.3 Improve and implement the existing monitoring protocol for the St. Lawrence Islands population; Implement same protocol at Niagara site. Continue monitoring sites that have been restored or augmented (underway)
  • Potential to address any or all threats
HighShort-termResearch3.4 Examine habitat of historical and extant populations; Include fire history where possible
  • Lack of habitat
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Competition
  • Invasive species
MediumLong-termResearch3.5 Investigate the genetic variability of Deerberry populations at a landscape and site level (underway)
  • Lack of reproduction
LowLong-termResearch3.6 Investigate life history of Deerberry including pollination, dispersal vectors, mycorrhizae, browsing, competition, and pathogens
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Competition
  • Invasive species
  • Browsing
  • Pathogens
MediumOngoingResearch and Restoration3.7 Continue to develop and improve a habitat model for Deerberry incorporating fire history and other life history and landscape variables as they become available
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Lack of habitat
LowLong-termResearch3.8 Collaborate with agencies in the USA to obtain more information on New York populations
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Lack of habitat
  • Pathogens

 

Table 5 (Continued). Approaches to recovery of Deerberry in Ontario (Objective 4: Provision of adequate habitat for species recovery through planning for, protecting and restoring existing and potential habitat, and the augmentation, reintroduction and introduction of populations Into suitable habitat)
Relative PriorityRelative TimeframeRecovery ThemeApproach to RecoveryThreats or Knowledge Gaps Addressed
HighOngoingRestoration4.1 Collect and cultivate a stock of cuttings and seeds from the two regions (underway)
  • Lack of reproduction
HighOngoingRestoration4.2 Enhance or augment existing populations; Using experience gained from past and ongoing introductions in St. Lawrence Islands National Park, begin efforts in Niagara Region
  • Lack of reproduction
HighShort-termRestoration4.3 Review and update criteria developed for restoration of populations in St. Lawrence Islands National Park; Establish criteria for restoration of Niagara populations.
  • Lack of habitat
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Competition
MediumOngoingRestoration4.4 Incorporate restoration of Deerberry into oak forest/savanna restoration activities being done by the Niagara Parks Commission (underway)
  • Lack of habitat
  • Lack of reproduction
  • Competition
LowOngoingRestoration4.5 Develop seed and cutting collection guidelines
  • Lack of reproduction

 

Narrative to support approaches to recovery

Preventing trampling of the few remaining plants in the Niagara Region is a top priority. Other management tools that have been used to maintain stable Deerberry populations at St. Lawrence Islands National Park should begin as soon as feasible for the Niagara population. Efforts to ensure successful germination and transplantation programs should continue.

2.4 Performance measures

Success in meeting the recovery objectives should be measured as follows over the short term:

Objective 1 – Persistence of Deerberry in its current habitat at all known natural and viable reintroduction sites with population sizes remaining stable or increasing for the next 10 years and beyond

  • There is no loss of populations, no loss of sites, and size of patches is relatively stable for the next ten years and beyond as demonstrated by a monitoring program (Objective 3).
  • All unsurveyed potential habitat has been identified and searched for Deerberry by 2010.
  • Habitat is identified and mapped based on occupancy by 2010.

Objective 2 – Identification of measures necessary to mitigate threats to the species and its habitat, and implementation of mitigation as appropriate

  • The threat of trampling is very much reduced or completely eliminated by 2010.
  • Park management plans are in place for populations in protected areas by 2010.
  • Management planning to address soil slumping is underway by 2010.

Objective 3 – Completion of research and monitoring to document and assess habitat requirements, genetic diversity, life history, and population trends

  • Monitoring program is tracking actual and potential threats by 2010.
  • Research on seedling germination and establishment is underway by 2010.
  • Research on the use of fire as a habitat improvement tool is underway by 2011.
  • Other research is begun as opportunities and funding arise.

Objective 4 – Provision of adequate habitat for species recovery through planning for, protecting and restoring existing and potential habitat, and the augmentation, reintroduction and introduction of populations into suitable habitat

  • Transplantation begins in the Niagara Region with the creation of at least one new population and increase in size of extant population by 2011.
  • Transplantation continues in St. Lawrence Islands National Park with establishment of at least 2 new or restored sites by 2011.
  • Work on habitat restoration (controlled burns, mechanical improvements, reintroductions) is begun in both regions by 2012.

2.5 Area for consideration in developing a habitat regulation

Under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA 2007), a recovery strategy must include a recommendation to the Minister of Natural Resources on the area that should be considered in developing a habitat regulation. A habitat regulation is a legal instrument that prescribes an area that will be protected as the habitat of the species. The recommendation provided below by the recovery team will be one of many sources considered by the Minister when developing the habitat regulation for this species.

Given the small number and size of Deerberry populations, it is recommended that areas where natural populations or successfully introduced populations occur be prescribed as habitat within a habitat regulation. There has been variable success in introducing Deerberry to sites within St. Lawrence Islands National Park (S. Thompson pers. comm. 2009). Therefore, only introduced populations that remain present and appear well established five years after restoration should be considered to have been successfully introduced. A 30 metre area around the external extent of each occurrence is also recommended to be prescribed as habitat within a habitat regulation. This distance is precautionary to capture the variability of site conditions that support the persistence of this species and generally encompasses the ecological communities in which the species occurs. In cases where occurrences are separated by more than 30 metres but there is contiguous suitable habitat in the intervening area (based on Ecological Land Classification), this area should be included within the habitat regulation. This approach was tested in the Thousand Islands in 2008 and 2009 and appears to work well at capturing the habitat that the species depends on (J. Van Wieren, pers. comm. 2009). For greater certainty, maps to support this recommendation should be created using a high resolution global positioning system (GPS).

If future scientific studies indicate that additional areas of habitat are necessary to achieve the recovery goals for this species, that information should also be considered in developing the habitat regulation.