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COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Boreal Felt Lichen in Canada

Summary of Status Report

In total, the number of extant and extirpated localities documented for boreal felt lichen in Canada include about 94 occurrences in about 7 regions of Newfoundland and 46 occurrences from about 4 coastal Atlantic regions of Nova Scotia and 1 locality from New Brunswick. The species no longer exists at the type locality in New Brunswick. In Nova Scotia, it is now known at only 3 of the 46 sites where it was observed formerly. Air pollution rather than loss of habitat is thought to be the main stressor in Nova Scotia. In Newfoundland, where the major concentrations of the species now occur, the senior author has documented losses from such causes as successional changes, logging, major air pollution point source (at Goobies from refinery at Come-by-Chance), possible local air pollution, and biotic impacts (1 major spruce budworm infestation killing balsam fir trees and lichens). The species is now documented from about 50 remaining sites on insular Newfoundland.

Including discoveries in March 2002 in Newfoundland, the total count of documented extant thalli in Canada is about 6900. In view of the many suitable habitats remaining in unexplored remote areas of the southern coast of insular Newfoundland, there are likely as many as twice or more this number, considering the rate of recent discoveries in more accessible areas with increased search effort. The greatest concentrations of thalli currently known are in Jipujijkuei Kuespem Park and in the Lockyer’s Waters area, both in Newfoundland.

For assessment purposes, the mainland populations in Nova Scotia and those of insular Newfoundland have been recognized as distinct COSEWIC populations due to the fact that they occur in different ecological regions and are subject to different degrees of risk, especially from atmospheric pollution [E. Haber, co-chair, SSC Plants and Lichens, COSEWIC].