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Recovery Strategy for the Red Mulberry (Morus rubra) in Canada

Recovery Feasibility

Recovery of Red Mulberry in Canada is considered biologically and technically feasible. The species meets all four criteria presented in the draft Government of Canada Species at Risk Act Policies (2009), as described below, although some caveats exist.

  1. Individuals of the wildlife species that are capable of reproduction are available now or in the foreseeable future to sustain the population or improve its abundance.
    Within the native Canadian populations of Red Mulberry, it is believed that approximately 322 pure strain individuals exist, many of which are capable of reproduction now or in the near future. However, confirmation of the genetic purity of individuals identified based on morphology is required and further analysis of all individuals is needed to determine if any are actually Morus murrayana, a newly discovered mulberry species in North America. This work may reduce the known Red Mulberry population size in Canada. Red Mulberry trees can be propagated and cultivated from seeds or summer cuttings and can be established as seedlings within existing habitats to improve abundance.

  2. Sufficient suitable habitat is available to support the species or could be made available through habitat management or restoration.
    Native Red Mulberry is confined to the Carolinian Life Zone of Canada (located within Ontario), occurring in moist, forested habitats. There is currently believed to be sufficient suitable habitat to support the long-term survival of Red Mulberry populations. Sustaining and restoring Carolinian woodlands is important for the re-colonization of Red Mulberry in currently unoccupied areas. Large-scale stewardship projects are currently taking place in Carolinian Canada through projects such as the Big Picture Network.

  3. The primary threats to the species or its habitat (including threats outside Canada) can be avoided or mitigated.
    Each core population is located completely or almost entirely on conservation lands, providing additional protection to that already afforded by legislation. It is believed that the major threats to Red Mulberry can be mitigated, at least to some extent, through management techniques and protection. However, while local efforts may be able to reduce White Mulberry numbers within and/or adjacent to Red Mulberry populations, elimination of White Mulberry in southern Ontario is not possible or feasible. Similarly, while the impacts of nesting Double-crested Cormorants may be managed, they will not be eliminated. As such, the long term viability of the Middle Island and East Sister Island Red Mulberry populations cannot be guaranteed. Lastly, it may not be possible to influence some factors like drought and low soil fertility that stress Red Mulberry trees or to prevent stressed individuals from being invaded by secondary pathogens that may lead to their decline and death. Given that 11 populations consist of only one or two individuals each, such threats may lead to loss of the smaller, non-core Red Mulberry populations.

  4. Recovery techniques exist to achieve the population and distribution objectives or can be expected to be developed within a reasonable timeframe.
    Recovery techniques such as habitat restoration and population enhancement, White and hybrid Mulberry removal, and Red Mulberry augmentation exist and can be implemented to support the achievement of the Red Mulberry population and distribution objectives.