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

Distribution

Global Range

Erioderma pedicellatum is an Amphi-Atlantic species that was historically present in Europe and in Canada. Currently, E. pedicellatum is only found in eastern Canada (Nova Scotia and Newfoundland).

In Norway, four localities were originally identified in the early 20th century. Alhner identified the lichen at three localities in the Grong region in 1938 and 1939 (Holien, 1995) and one locality in North Trondelag in 1948 (Maass, 1980b). Alhner believed that the species was new to science and gave it the name Erioderma boreale. More recently, two additional sites, in the Grong and Overhalla regions, were discovered in 1994 (Holien et al., 1995). Tor Tonsberg (pers. comm.) had confirmed in 1999 that one thallus remained from these recent discoveries; however, it is currently his opinion that the species has become extirpated in Norway.

In 1948, Ahlner discovered a site in Vãrmland, Sweden, consisting of 100+ thalli. This site was designated a nature reserve in 1952 (Holien, 1995). Holien states that the last reported sighting of thalli here was in 1956. Maass (1980) reported that Degelius (pers. comm.) had revisited the site and may have been the last to see it in 1962. Necrotic thalli from this last visit of his were deposited in various Swedish herbaria (GB, UPS). A colour photograph of bleached and corrosion-damaged thalli from this collection was included in the Fieldbook on Lichens by Moberg and Holmåsen (1982).


Canadian Range

1) New Brunswick

J.G. Farlow made the earliest known collection of Erioderma pedicellatum in Canada on Campobello Island in 1902. This consisted of about 10 thalli. Farlow, realizing he had something unique, sent it to Hue for identification. Nine years later, Hue published it in an obscure journal under the name Pannaria pedicellata thereby reaching only a narrow audience. It is for this reason that a further sixty years would transpire before the original description of the species became known (Jørgensen 1972). To date, Stephen Clayden (1997), in his capacity as a curator at the New Brunswick Museum in St. John, NB, has, like the senior author, been unable to relocate or confirm the presence of E. pedicellatum on Campobello Island and in other parts of New Brunswick.

2) Nova Scotia

Most historic occurrences of E. pedicellatum in Nova Scotia were on the Atlantic Slope not more than 30 km from the coast in balsam fir (Abies balsamea) forests. The only exception was one dead thallus in the Cape Chignecto area above the Bay of Fundy on red maple (Acer rubrum) in site NS-46 (Maass, 1991). Further occurrences on phorophytes other than balsam fir include one thallus located in a white spruce (Picea glauca) grove about 100 m to the North of Toms Brook (NS-42) and one thallus (NS-6) on red maple. Most of the remaining occurrences had been in the northeastern parts of Halifax County and in Guysborough County. Only four (NS-42 to NS-45) had been located on Cape Breton Island, a considerable distance away from major centers of industrial activity such as Sydney and Glace Bay. All of the confirmed localities for E. pedicellatum are between 9 and 152 m above sea level. A total of 46 historic populations plus three sub-populations are known from this province.

3) Newfoundland

Very limited lichenological exploration has been undertaken in Newfoundland. Ahti and Jørgensen first collected Erioderma pedicellatum in Newfoundland in 1971 under the synonym Erioderma boreale. Ten years would pass before additional attempts would be made to establish a distribution pattern for the species in Newfoundland (Maass 1980, Ahti 1983). Field crews of the Newfoundland Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods made substantial contributions to Erioderma discoveries beginning in 1997. Altogether, about 67 principal localities have been listed for Newfoundland with almost as many sub-populations identified.

The total distributions of boreal felt lichen before 1995, after 1994, the total historic and current distribution and occurrences on balsam fir and on spruces are recorded in Figures 3-6.

Gaps in the distributional maps of this species in Newfoundland represent, for the most part, real disjunctions based on the presence of extensive areas of open heath habitat unsuitable for this species. In the southern coastal and central regions of Newfoundland, the potential still exists, however, of finding additional populations of the lichen in protected forested valleys within the extensive heath barrens. The pattern of distribution along the Atlantic coastline of Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland appear to be controlled by climatic factors such as those that characterize the oceanic boreal and hemi-boreal climatic zones representing cool, moist and often foggy conditions in the more coastal areas. The entire central northern portion of Newfoundland and the eastern region of the Great Northern Peninsula, although largely forested, appear to lie within climatic zones that are either too warm or too cold and/or too dry during the growing season (see Figures figure7, figure8).


Figure 3: Overall Distributional Map for Occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum on Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) in Atlantic Canada, Based on Observations Made Both Before 1995 and after 1994

Figure 3: Overall distributional map for occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum on balsam fir (Abies balsamea) in Atlantic Canada, based on observations made both before 1995 and after 1994.

Occurrences on red maple (Acer rubrum) have been indicated by a dotted triangular symbol and those on white spruce (Picea glauca) by an asterisk. In contrast, the occurrences of E. pedicellatum on black spruce have always been accompanied by occurrences of E. pedicellatum on balsam fir trees. The open circle on the coast of Maineindicates a possible former occurrence of the lichen, as explained in the legend for Figure 4.


Figure 4: Distributional Map for All of the Occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum in Atlantic Canada that had been Known Prior to 1995

Figure 4: Distributional map for all of the occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum in Atlantic Canada that had been known prior to 1995.

Occurrences on red maple (Acer rubrum) have been indicated by a dotted triangular symbol and those on white spruce (Picea glauca) by an asterisk. - The type locality of E. pedicellatum has been highlighted by a circle around the dot. A possible former habitat of this species on Head Harbour Island SE of Jonesport in WashingtonCounty of the State of Maine, also, has been highlighted by an open circle. Herbarium specimens of both Coccocarpia palmicola and Lobaria scrobiculata are known to have been collected from balsam fir barks on this island (FH). These are the most characteristic habitat indicators for occurrences of E. pedicellatum on balsam fir trees.


Figure 5: Distributional Map for all of the Occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum in Atlantic Canada that have been Based on Confirmed Observations Made After 1994

Figure 5: Distributional map for all of the occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum in Atlantic Canada that have been based on confirmed observations made after 1994.


Figure 6. Distributional Map for Occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum on Spruce Trees in Atlantic Canada

Figure 6: Distributional map for occurrences of Erioderma pedicellatum on spruce trees in Atlantic Canada: On Picea mariana (represented by solid dots) and on Picea glauca (represented by an asterisk).

On Picea mariana (represented by solid dots) and on Picea glauca (represented by an asterisk).


Figure 7: Newfoundland Vegetational Map and Erioderma pedicellatum Total Occurrences (localities approximated) Plus May-Sept Precipitation Averages in mm

Figure 7: Newfoundland vegetational map and Erioderma pedicellatum total occurrences (localities approximated) plus May-Sept precipitation averages in mm. Localities occur primarily in regions with greater than 450 mm precipitation in the growing season.

Black areas along the southwestern region near the coast are limestone heath. Localities occur primarily in regions with > 450 mm precipitation in the growing season.


Figure 8: Newfoundland Vegetational Map and Erioderma pedicellatum Total Occurrences (localities approximated) Plus Average July Air Temperature in Degrees Centigrade

Figure 8: Newfoundland vegetational map and Erioderma pedicellatum total occurrences (localities approximated) plus average July air temperature in degrees centigrade. Localities occur primarily in regions having temperatures below the July average of 16º C.

Black areas along the southwestern region near the coast are limestone heath. Localities occur primarily in regions having temperatures below the July average of 16º C.