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Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata L.)


Jurisdiction responses


Government of Ontario

Acknowledgement of Receipt of the

Recovery Strategy for the Cucumber Tree in Canada (May 2006)

by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

on behalf of the Province of Ontario

This proposed Recovery Strategy for the Cucumber Tree has been prepared by the members of the Cucumber Tree Recovery Team in cooperation with Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). It represents advice to the responsible jurisdictions on the recovery goals, approaches and objectives that are recommended to protect and recover the species. It does not necessarily represent the views of all individual members of the recovery team, or the official positions of the organizations with which the individual team members are associated. The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new findings and revised objectives. Implementation of the plan is subject to policies, appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations

Received by:  Cameron Mack

Director, Fish and Wildlife Branch

Natural Resource Management Division

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

On behalf of the Province of Ontario

Date: July 2006

Species at risk – act today so they have tomorrow


This recovery strategy has been prepared in cooperation with the jurisdictions responsible for the Cucumber Tree. Environment Canada has reviewed and accepts this document as its recovery strategy for the Cucumber Tree, as required under the Species at Risk Act. This recovery strategy also constitutes advice to other jurisdictions and organizations that may be involved in recovering the species.

The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new findings and revised objectives.

This recovery strategy will be the basis for one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation and recovery of the species. The Minister of the Environment will report on progress within five years.

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 Environment Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of the Environment invites all responsible jurisdictions and Canadians to join Environment Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Cucumber Tree and Canadian society as a whole.


A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is conducted on all SARA recovery planning documents, in accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals.  The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally sound decision-making. 

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts on non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the strategy itself, but are also summarized below.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Cucumber Tree. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. For management recommendations the form and size of openings will need to be better defined, and it will also be important to consider the positive or negative impacts that such management would have on other species in the forest ecosystem. Because the majority of the broad strategies focus on improving habitat connectivity, the SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. 


SARA defines residence as: a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating[Subsection 2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted on the SARA public registry: www.sararegistry.gc.ca/plans/residence_e.cfm


Habitat Protection / Ownership

Cucumber Tree is listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act and is regulated under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.  This provides protection to the individual and its habitat.  Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) also offers protection by not permitting development or site alteration in its significant habitat.  Four of the populations are also designated as Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs), three of which are regional and one of which is provincial; however, only provincial ANSIs are afforded protection under the PPS.

All of the private landowners, and the Long Point Conservation Authority, were contacted in 1998 for the purposes of the Endangered Species Act and the associated Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program.  Additional landowners were contacted in 2003-2004.

As summarized in Table 3, the populations of Cucumber Tree occur on a wide range of properties in both Norfolk County and the Regional Municipality of Niagara.  However, of these twelve populations, only six are proposed at this time as Critical Habitat and include:

Norfolk County :

  1. Smith Tract and adjacent properties (Long Point Region Conservation Authority)
  2. Shining Tree Woods (NANPS - North American Native Plant Society)
  3. Long Point National Wildlife Area (Environment Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service)

Regional Municipality of Niagara:

  1. North Fenwick Footslope Forest Regional ANSI (private)
  2. Fenwick Slough Forest Woodlot (private)
  3. Northwest Fenwick Forest Regional ANSI (private)

The population located on Long Point National Wildlife Area is under federal ownership and is considered to be protected (McKeating 1983); however, specific surveys and mapping of Critical Habitat is still required.  This site will be protected under SARA s58 (3) 90 days after a description of the critical habitat within the National Wildlife Area is published in the Canada Gazette.

SARA s58(2) requires the Minister of Environment to publish this description in the Canada Gazette within 90 days of its identification on the SARA public registry.

Long Point Region Conservation Authority has been fully engaged in the recovery planning process and the property is being managed cognoscente of the presence of Cucumber Tree.

The Shining Tree Woods is owned and managed by the North American Native Plant Society and they have been engaged in the recovery planning process and the property is being managed consistent with the strategies outlined in the Recovery Strategy. 

The remaining two populations are found on private properties, two or which are also designated as regional Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs).

Schedule of Studies   

Environment Canada is responsible for mapping proposed critical habitat in Long Point National Wildlife Area.  In addition, Environment Canada will work in cooperation with the province of Ontario to insure that the schedule of studies is completed to the extent possible prior to the timeline for completing the Action Plan. 

Table A.1.  Schedule of Studies  

Description of Research Activity Expected ResultsEstimated Timeline
Mapping of proposed critical habitat in Long Point National Wildlife AreaA precise definition and mapping of critical habitat to meet the CH requirements of SARA on National Wildlife AreasJanuary 2008
Mapping of proposed critical habitat if resources permit on other public landsA precise definition and mapping of critical habitat to meet the CH requirements of SARA2 years
Determine demographic rates (survivorship, recruitment, dispersal) and the trends and fluctuations of these rates.Acquire information needed for a Population Viability Analysis (PVA).3 years
Complete a PVA.To determine population viability under current conditions and to help evaluate the number of individuals and amount of habitat required to attain viability.2 years
Further define the habitat needs of Cucumber Tree at all of its life stages.To help identify potential habitat for population expansion (if required).3 years
Complete habitat modelling To refine critical habitat identification and mapping.1 year


McKeating, G. 1983. Management plan: Long Point National Wildlife Area. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada – Ontario.

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