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Action Plan for the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada - 2014 [Proposed]

Species at Risk Act
Action Plan Series
Cucumber Tree

Cover Photo: Cucumber Tree

Table of Contents

Document Information

Document Information

Action Plan for the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada [Proposed] - 2014


Cover: Action Plan for the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada [Proposed] - 2014

Recommended citation:

Environment Canada. 2014. Action Plan for the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada [Proposed]. Species at Risk Act Action Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 23 pp.

For copies of the action plan, or for additional information on species at risk, including including the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Status Reports, residence descriptions, recovery strategies and other related recovery documents, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry[1].

Cover illustration: © Donald Kirk

Également disponible en français sous le titre
« Plan d'action pour le magnolia acuminé (Magnolia acuminata) au Canada [Proposition] »

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of the Environment, 2014. All rights reserved.
ISBN
Catalogue no.

Content (excluding the illustrations) may be used without permission, with appropriate credit to the source.

Preface

The federal, provincial, and territorial government signatories under the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk (1996)[2] agreed to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for effective protection of species at risk throughout Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act (S.C. 2002, c.29) (SARA), the federal competent ministers are responsible for the preparation of action plans for species listed as Extirpated, Endangered, and Threatened for which recovery has been deemed feasible. They are also required to report on progress within five years after the publication of the final document on the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry.

Under SARA, one or more action plan(s) provides the detailed recovery planning that supports the strategic direction set out in the recovery strategy for the species. The plan outlines what needs to be done to achieve the population and distribution objectives (previously referred to as recovery goals and objectives) identified in the recovery strategy, including the measures to be taken to address the threats and monitor the recovery of the species, as well as the proposed measures to protect the critical habitat that has been identified for the species. The action plan also includes an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation. The action plan is considered one in a series of documents that are linked and should be taken into consideration together. Those being the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) Status Report, the recovery strategy, and one or more action plan(s).

The Minister of the Environment is the competent minister for the recovery of the Cucumber Tree and has prepared this action plan to implement the recovery strategy, as per section 47 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

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 and actions set out in this action plan and will not be achieved by Environment Canada, or any other jurisdiction, alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this action plan for the benefit of the Cucumber Tree, and Canadian society as a whole.

Implementation of this action plan is subject to appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints of the participating jurisdictions and organizations.

Acknowledgments

The preliminary draft action plan was prepared by Dr. David Anthony Kirk, of Aquila Conservation & Environment Consulting, and Dr. Jennie L. Pearce, of Pearce & Associates Ecological Research. Subsequent drafts and revisions were made by Arran Brown (formerly Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Ontario) and Kathy St. Laurent (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario). Barbara Slezak, Lesley Dunn, Krista Holmes, Burke Korol, Madeline Austen and Rachel DeCatanzaro (Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Ontario) provided additional guidance and direction. Additional thanks go to the following people for their input and advice: John Ambrose, Karine Bériault, Amy Brant, Graham Buck, Deborah Dale, Glenn Desy, Paul Heydon, Donald Kirk, Karolyne Pickett, Eric Snyder, Richard Woolger, Barb Boysen, Vivian Brownell, Megan McAndrew and Terry Schwan of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), David Brown, Paul Gagnon and Deanna Lindblad of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA), Mike Rose (Land Care Niagara) and Bernt Solymar (Earthtramper Consulting, Inc).

Executive Summary

The Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata), so named because of the slight resemblance of its fruit to a cucumber, is the only native Magnolia species occurring in Canada. It is listed as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). In Canada, the Cucumber Tree occurs only in Ontario, where populations exist in two disjunct areas: Norfolk County and the Regional Municipality of Niagara. This action plan applies to the entire population and distribution of the Cucumber Tree in Canada.

The final federal recovery strategy for the Cucumber Tree was posted in 2007 and was adopted by the Province of Ontario in 2010. The recovery goal in the federal recovery strategy is to conserve and, if necessary, restore the Cucumber Tree to self-sustaining (i.e., demographically viable) populations in both regions of its native Canadian range in southern Ontario (i.e., Norfolk County south and west of Simcoe and the Town of Pelham within the Regional Municipality of Niagara). The four recovery objectives from the recovery strategy are to: (1) protect existing natural populations and their habitats, with priority on critical habitat over the next five years; (2) increase the population size to 50 reproductive individuals in at least two sites within each of the two regions where the species occurs over the next 25 years; (3) conduct research to better understand the biology and ecology of the species in relation to its status over the next three years; and (4) to develop and carry out a landscape restoration plan to reduce impacts of fragmentation or other factors on the habitats identified. This action plan includes specific prioritized actions to meet the recovery goal by addressing the four recovery objectives.

Critical habitat was identified, to the extent possible at that time, in the recovery strategy. Critical habitat identified in this action plan, combined with that identified in the recovery strategy, collectively comprise the critical habitat for the species that is necessary to meet the population and distribution objectives. In this action plan, eight new sites containing critical habitat for Cucumber Tree are identified, using the best available data. These sites are in addition to the seven sites containing critical habitat which were previously identified in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). Thus, a total of 15 sites have been identified as containing critical habitat for Cucumber Tree in Canada, all in Ontario.

Critical habitat has been identified on federal and non-federal lands.  Proposed measures to protect critical habitat are presented in section 1.4.

Recovery measures that have been outlined in this document fall under four categories: habitat protection and management, landscape and habitat restoration, research, and outreach and communication. An implementation schedule has also been developed which prioritizes these recovery actions.

It is anticipated that the implementation of this action plan will have minimal socio-economic impacts. This action plan is not anticipated to have any negative effects on other species. 

1. Recovery Actions

1.1 Context and Scope of the Action Plan

This action plan outlines measures intended to address the recovery goal and recovery objectives from the federal Recovery Strategy for the Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). It applies to the entire population and distribution of the Cucumber Tree in Canada, which is found only in two very restricted areas in Ontario. The action plan should be considered along with the federal recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). The recovery strategy provides more details on the species and strategic direction and approaches for recovery of the Cucumber Tree including information on the original critical habitat identification and threats to the species.

The Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) is a forest canopy species that can grow to 30 m in height (COSEWIC 2010). In Canada, it is found only within the Carolinian zone of southern Ontario (Figure 1). It is listed in Canada as Endangered on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act and in Ontario as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA, 2007).

Figure 1. North American Distribution of Cucumber Tree (adapted from Kartesz 2010).

Figure 1 is a map of the North American distribution of Cucumber Tree. (See long description below)
Long Description for Figure 1

Figure 1 is a map of the North American distribution of Cucumber Tree. The core of the distribution is south of Lakes Ontario and Erie moving south along the Appalachians and becoming more scattered as it moves south and west, terminating before Texas.

In Canada, the Cucumber Tree is found in: the Town of Pelham in the Regional Municipality of Niagara and south and west of the Town of Simcoe in Norfolk County (Figure 2). Based on field surveys performed up to 2008, an estimated 200 trees exist within 18 separate populations[3] The previous estimate of population size, based on field surveys performed in 1998-2001, was 186 trees; the difference between the above population estimates is not considered significant (COSEWIC 2010). Overall, the Canadian population of Cucumber Tree appears to be stable (COSEWIC 2010).

Figure 2. Cucumber Tree Locations of Populations in Canada

Figure 2 is a map that shows the location of extant, historical and extirpated populations of Cucumber Tree in southern Ontario. (See long description below)

Note: Several dots representing populations are overlapping; there are eight extant populations in Norfolk County and ten extant populations in the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Historical populations are those where there is a lack of recent (i.e., within last 20-40 years) field information verifying the population's continued existence. Extirpated populations are those for which there is documented destruction of habitat or persuasive evidence of the species eradication based on adequate surveys. Some of the extirpated populations may be subpopulations (within 1 km) of extant populations but imprecise locational information precludes this determination.

Long Description for Figure 2

Figure 2 is a map that shows the location of extant, historical and extirpated populations of Cucumber Tree in southern Ontario. There are extant, historical and extirpated populations in the Regional Municipality of Niagara and extant and extirpated populations in Norfolk County near Long Point on Lake Erie.

The key threats to the Cucumber Tree include forest clearing and the associated effects of habitat fragmentation and degradation as well as changes to ground water flow and soil moisture levels.

This action plan recommends specific recovery implementation measures that are consistent with the recovery strategy goal and its objectives (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). The goal of the recovery strategy is:

  • to conserve and, if necessary, restore the Cucumber Tree to self-sustaining (i.e., demographically viable) populations in both regions of its native Canadian range in southern Ontario (i.e. Norfolk County south and west of the community of Simcoe and the Town of Pelham within the Regional Municipality of Niagara).

The four recovery objectives from the recovery strategy are:

  1. protect existing natural populations and their habitats, prioritizing critical habitat over the next five years;
  2. increase the population size to 50 reproductive individuals in at least two sites within each of the two regions where the species occurs over the next 25 years;
  3. conduct research to better understand the biology and ecology of the species in relation to its status over the next three years; and
  4. develop and carry out a landscape restoration plan to reduce impacts of fragmentation or other factors on the habitats identified. 

1.2 Measures to be Taken and Implementation Schedule

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources issued a Government Response Statement (GRS) for the Cucumber Tree in June 2011 (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2011). The GRS is Ontario’s policy response to the scientific advice provided in the provincial recovery strategy and identifies Ontario government-supported actions that will lead to recovery of the Cucumber Tree. The measures below are based on that GRS and also include monitoring to determine the success of recovery measures. Environment Canada will endeavor to support implementation of this action plan subject to available resources and species at risk conservation priorities.

Table 1. Implementation Schedule Accessible version of Table 1
Recovery Measures CategoryRecovery MeasuresPriority1Threats or objectives addressedTimeline
Habitat Protection and Management1.1: Encourage stewardship of Cucumber Trees, including landowner participation in property tax incentive programs (e.g., Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program and the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program). Support the securement of land where Cucumber Trees occur through conservation agreements and stewardship programs.HighHabitat fragmentation

Low connectivity and small population size

Forest management
Ongoing
Habitat Protection and Management1.2: Promote forest management practices to encourage sustainable and appropriate forest management practices for Cucumber Tree to: promote population vigour with respect to site/stand conditions, promote natural recruitment and increase the size of four populations (two in Norfolk County and two in the Town of Pelham) to 50 reproductive individuals in the next 25 years. Such practices include removing other mature tree species to create openings in the forest canopy to encourage Cucumber Tree regeneration, removal/management of vegetation (both invasive and native) competing with Cucumber Tree seedlings/saplings and active restoration of old fields through planting Cucumber Trees, using seeds/seedlings from a local source (with appropriate permits).HighHabitat fragmentation

Low connectivity and small population size

Forest management
2014 - 2039
Habitat Protection and Management1.3: Identify and mitigate existing and potential threats. Specifically, investigate the potential impact of land-use activities and natural events (e.g., climate change, storms, drought) that may affect site/stand conditions including altering drainage patterns, groundwater and soil moisture. Monitor site/stand conditions (e.g., soil moisture, pathogens/insects and invasive species) in relation to tree health and reproductive success (e.g., seed set, germination).MediumAll2014 - 2019
Landscape and Habitat Restoration2.1: Assess the best opportunities for restoring connections between small populations, so as to increase the size of small (10 or fewer trees) populations and enhance their ability to be self-sustaining.MediumHabitat fragmentation

Low connectivity and small population size
2014 -2019
Landscape and Habitat Restoration2.2: Coordinate organizations (and existing initiatives), willing landowners and volunteers to effectively use resources and implement actions for restoring landscape connectivity and expanding forest fragments to increase potential suitable habitat.MediumHabitat fragmentation

Low connectivity and small population size

Alteration of soil moisture regime
2014 – 2019
Monitoring3.1: Monitor Cucumber Tree populations (using existing or new monitoring programs) to determine the success of recovery measures.HighAll2014 - 2019
Research4.1: Conduct priority research such as detailed studies on pollination, demographic, seed dispersal and genetic composition of populations and conduct a preliminary assessment of the effects of habitat fragmentation on pollination.MediumHabitat fragmentation

Low connectivity and small population size

Alteration of soil moisture regime
Ongoing
Outreach and Communication5.1: Develop and provide information to land owners, forestry associations and others to increase awareness and promote the protection and recovery of the Cucumber Tree. Build partnerships with landscape restoration programs to disseminate guidance material for targeted landscape restoration activities for Cucumber Tree recovery.MediumAll2014 – 2019

1 “Priority” reflects the degree to which the measure contributes directly to the recovery of the species or is an essential precursor to a measure that contributes to the recovery of the species. High priority measures are considered those most likely to have an immediate and/or direct influence on attaining the recovery objective for species. Medium priority measures may have a less immediate or less direct influence on reaching the recovery population and distribution objectives, but are still important for recovery of the population. Low priority recovery measures will likely have an indirect or gradual influence on reaching the recovery objectives, but are considered important contributions to the knowledge base and/or public involvement and acceptance of species.

1.3 Critical Habitat

1.3.1 Identification of the Species' Critical Habitat

Critical habitat for the Cucumber Tree in Canada was partially identified, to the extent possible at that time, in the federal recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007); seven[4] sites were identified in southern Ontario. It was recognized that the information available at the time was insufficient to fully identify critical habitat in the federal recovery strategy and a schedule of studies was included to obtain the information required (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). The critical habitat criteria described in the recovery strategy includes the vegetation communities in which populations (or subpopulations) of Cucumber Tree occur that have 10 or more mature trees and are showing successful regeneration (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). The recovery strategy further states that the Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP)(Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 1998) mapping guidelines for Cucumber Tree in Ontario could be applied to map the critical habitat. The CLTIP[5] approach to mapping Cucumber Tree habitat is the basis of the critical habitat identified in the recovery strategy and of the additional critical habitat identified in this action plan.

Upon review of the recovery strategy critical habitat, it was determined that the critical habitat criteria were too restrictive and did not allow for a comprehensive identification of the habitat required to meet the recovery goal [i.e., to conserve, and if necessary restore, Cucumber Tree to self-sustaining (i.e., demographically-viable) populations in both regions of its native Canadian range in southern Ontario (i.e., Norfolk County south and west of the community of Simcoe and the Town of Pelham within the Regional Municipality of Niagara]. Therefore, less restrictive criteria for critical habitat identification, consistent with the criteria described in the recovery strategy identification, are applied in this action plan. All critical habitat identified in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) meets the less restrictive criteria of this action plan and remains identified as critical habitat.

In particular, the minimum of 10 mature trees criterion presented in the recovery strategy was meant to exclude severely fragmented populations (i.e., a population is considered severely fragmented when it has less than 10 mature trees). Such populations’ long-term viability is uncertain based on the potentially greater impact of stochastic events (e.g., major ice storms) on such a small population (COSEWIC 2010). Nonetheless, single trees and small populations contribute to genetic connectivity across the landscape; fragmented sites can play a role as functioning elements of a larger population as "stepping stones" between sites(Lander et al. 2010). Isolated trees can also be important for enhancing pollen dispersal in fragmented landscapes (Lander et al. 2010). The remaining natural landscape in southern Ontario where Cucumber Trees exist is severely fragmented, so these "stepping stones" are particularly important. New information suggests that many smaller populations in Ontario have suitable habitat and potential for recovery. Therefore, the threshold number of trees observed in a population in order for the habitat to be considered critical, was reduced (i.e., fewer trees) in this action plan.

In addition, the requirement of the presence of successful regeneration at a site to meet the recovery strategy criteria for critical habitat fails to recognize that simple site/habitat management (e.g., removal of a few canopy trees) could promote conditions for seedling establishment. Cucumber Tree seedlings are shade intolerant; suitable site conditions (i.e., openings in the canopy) are required to promote seedling establishment and growth. Therefore, sites that do not currently have regenerating trees will not be excluded from critical habitat identification in the action plan if they otherwise have high recovery potential (e.g., suitable habitat available for population expansion).

Critical habitat identified in this action plan, combined with that identified in the recovery strategy (which was confirmed to meet the less restrictive criteria described above), collectively comprise the critical habitat for the species that is necessary to meet the population and distribution objectives. Critical habitat is identified, to the extent possible, using the best available information, for all populations of Cucumber Tree in Canada using an occupied suitable habitat approach.

(1) Suitable Habitat

Cucumber Trees are generally found in upland moist deciduous or mixed forest with rich, moist, medium to coarse-textured soils (Ambrose and Aboud 1984; COSEWIC 2010). However, a small part of one site in Ontario is a coniferous-dominated forest and small parts of two other sites are conifer plantations. Known occupied habitat classes in Ontario include forests, swamps and plantations. Trees are often found in a headwaters area with undulating topography of low swampy areas interspersed with rises with the trees occurring on the drier areas above the saturated soils (Ambrose and Aboud 1984; COSEWIC 2010). Openings in the canopy are required to promote regeneration and seedling establishment. The species does not tolerate overly wet nor dry conditions and is moderately drought tolerant. Suitable habitat for Cucumber Tree is classified using the Ecological Land Classification (ELC) framework for Ontario (Lee et al. 1998). The ELC framework provides a standardized approach to the interpretation and delineation of ecosystem boundaries. The distribution of Cucumber Trees within a vegetation community class appears to be more important than species composition; Cucumber Tree populations are often part of a larger stand of trees and are found in association with other forest canopy species of mixed forests (Ambrose and Aboud 1984). Within this larger forested matrix, natural openings required for regeneration are maintained by permanent ponds, streams or wind throws (Ambrose and Aboud 1984). Therefore, the ELC Community Class is the ELC level used to describe suitable habitat and is equivalent to the Endangered Plant Community used in the CLTIP guidelines for mapping Cucumber Tree habitat. Known ELC Community Classes in which Cucumber Trees are found in Ontario are swamps (SW) and forests (FO).

In addition, select cultural habitats are also considered suitable for the Cucumber Tree. Cultural plantations include semi-natural forests containing over 60% tree cover. These areas result from or are maintained by anthropogenic-based disturbances. To identify suitable from non-suitable cultural habitats, the ELC Community Series level is used. The only known ELC Community Series in which Cucumber Tree is found in Ontario is cultural plantation (CUP).

See Appendix B for a list of the ecosites and vegetation types within the larger ELC Community Classes or Series listed above in which Cucumber Tree has been found in Ontario. As more information becomes available, this list may be modified.

Although only a small area within each of the suitable ELC polygon(s) may be occupied by Cucumber Trees, the unoccupied, yet continuous suitable habitat area, is required for dispersal, establishment and expansion of the species to meet the population and distribution objectives. Identifying critical habitat at the level of tree stands (i.e., ELC Community Class) considers the influence of succession and natural processes on the configuration of the stand and provides space for these ecological processes to occur. This helps to ensure that suitable habitat and microhabitats of individual Cucumber Trees are maintained. In forested areas, natural disturbances such as wind, ice storms or flooding may also create suitable canopy gaps, which the species can colonize.

(2) Suitable Habitat Occupancy

Suitable Habitat Occupancy Criterion: Suitable habitat is considered occupied when a native Cucumber Tree has been observed for any single year during the period from 1992 to 2011.

The boundary of occupied suitable habitat is defined by the extent of suitable habitat described by the ELC polygon (as identified in above) in which the species occurs, and is equivalent to the Endangered Plant Community described in the CLTIP guidelines. Owing to seed dispersal, population expansion, succession and other natural processes, the configuration of a stand of trees within the larger vegetation community may change over time; protection of the habitat in which an endangered species (plant or animal) occurs is vital to the long-term survival of the species (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 1998). In cases where Cucumber Tree individuals exist at the edge (i.e., less than 20 m from the edge) of a suitable habitat polygon (Endangered Plant Community) a radial distance capturing up to 20 m of the terrestrial area [6] (i.e., including both suitable and unsuitable habitat) surrounding each Cucumber Tree individual will be applied in addition to the suitable ELC habitat polygon. A radial distance of 20 m is based on a critical root radius definition which is calculated as 1.5 feet of radius for each inch of the diameter at breast height (dbh) of a tree (or 18 cm per one cm of the dbh) (Johnson 1999). Given that the maximum-recorded dbh for Cucumber Tree in Canada is 99 cm (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources unpubl. data) the critical root radius is then calculated to be 20 m(99 cm x 18 cm = 17.82 m rounded to the nearest 5 m). The critical root radius is used to define a zone surrounding the tree to prevent damage or disturbance (such as soil compaction) to the roots, dripline[7] and soil.

Occupancy is determined using observations of native occurrences collected between 1992 and 2011. The 20-year timeframe is consistent with the NatureServe’s (2002) and Ontario’s Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) threshold for considering populations to be extant versus historic, and allows for inclusion of a number of native populations that likely persist but which have not been recently surveyed.

An occupied suitable habitat polygon must contain at least one Cucumber Tree (which may include ramet[8], sapling/seedling or tree), and can include apparently dead individuals (based on visual observations), believed to be native in origin. Apparently dead individuals are included because Cucumber Trees will sprout readily from the trunk or roots of a tree that may otherwise look dead or is dying (Bernard, pers. comm. 2012, COSEWIC 2010). Any sites containing trees that are considered horticultural specimens, cultivars or planted individuals are not considered to be occupied for the purposes of identifying critical habitat.

(3) Application of the Cucumber Tree Critical Habitat Criteria

Critical habitat for Cucumber Tree is identified in this action plan as the Suitable Habitat that meets the Suitable Habitat Occupancy Criterion described in the corresponding sections above. Critical habitat is the entire suitable habitat polygon (as described using an ELC Community Class) where a native Cucumber Tree occurs, having been observed between 1992 and 2011. In addition, in order to protect the tree and the root zone of Cucumber Trees that exist at the edge of a suitable habitat polygon, the terrestrial area (suitable and unsuitable habitat) within a radial distance of 20 m (i.e., critical root radius) of each individual Cucumber Tree is also included as critical habitat. Within the 20 m critical root radius, unsuitable (or marginal) habitat types such as grass/lawn, roadside ditch and agricultural land may occur; and although these areas are also critical habitat, activities such as mowing, ploughing or grazing may continue provided the functionality of the current habitat conditions is not reduced (e.g., the ability of the soil to retain moisture is not reduced through compaction or erosion). Any existing human-made structures (e.g., homes, buildings, roads) are not critical habitat. If a human-made feature (e.g., paved road, building) or natural barrier (e.g., river) occurs in the suitable habitat and creates a hard edge, or in the case of Cucumber Tree that occurs at the edge of a suitable habitat polygon, in the terrestrial area within a radial distance of 20 m of the tree, critical habitat ends at that feature.

Where a single, native Cucumber Tree is growing entirely within an area of marginal habitat (i.e., no suitable habitat present), such as a roadside ditch, urban garden or lawn, these areas are not identified as critical habitat. These habitat types do not offer the proper conditions required for self-perpetuation due to human activities and lack of suitable habitat, which would inhibit natural population expansion and dispersal.

Although critical habitat is not identified for extant native populations (or subpopulations) occurring entirely within an area of marginal habitat, these trees may contain important genetic material for recovery and, depending on where they occur, are protected under the prohibitions listed in either SARA (on federal lands) or the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA, 2007) (on non-federal lands).

Application of the critical habitat criteria to available information resulted in the identification of eight new sites containing critical habitat for eight populations of Cucumber Tree in Canada (Table 2). These sites are in addition to the seven sites containing critical habitat for nine [9] populations previously identified in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) (Table 2). It is important to note that the coordinates provided are a cartographic representation of where the critical habitat parcels can be found. Critical habitat for the Cucumber Tree occurs within the 1 x 1 km standardized Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) grid where the critical habitat criteria and methodology described in Section 1.3 are met. The UTM grid is a standardized national grid system that indicates the general geographical area containing critical habitat and can be used to highlight areas that contain critical habitat (e.g., by land-use planners, landowners, or during an environmental assessment). To respect provincial data-sharing agreements, as well as best practices for reducing further risks to the species and its habitat, locational information is presented as 1 x 1 km UTM grids (Table 2). In addition to providing these benefits, the 1 x 1 km UTM grid may represent the accuracy of the best available information (e.g., occurrence or suitable habitat/biophysical features) for certain locations (e.g., the location would require field verification to improve the accuracy). More detailed information on the location of critical habitat, to support protection of the species and its habitat, may be requested on a need-to-know basis by contacting Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service.

Some of the populations have not been recently visited and detailed site boundaries are not delineated at this time. In several instances, the populations have not been visited for at least 10 years. Moreover, for several of the locations recently visited, precise locational data obtained by Global Positioning System (GPS) technology are not available for the individual trees. In these cases, the 1km grid may represent the best available information. As additional information becomes available, the extent of critical habitat may need to be refined or more sites meeting the critical habitat criteria may be added. For example, a newly-reported (ca. 2009) population consisting of two Cucumber Trees was reported from the Regional Municipality of Niagara. However, this population has not yet been assessed (e.g., origin, viability, etc.) by the Natural Heritage Information Centre. If this population is determined to be a native occurrence of Cucumber Tree in suitable habitat, critical habitat will be identified for this location in the future.

Critical habitat is not identified for the Fenwick Roadside population[10] as it consists of two instances of a single, remnant tree growing in a cultural roadside setting (COSEWIC 2010). As noted above, roadside ditches, urban gardens and landscaped yards (e.g., lawns) are not considered suitable habitat.

As noted above, roadside ditches, urban gardens and landscaped yards (e.g., lawns) are not considered suitable habitat.

Table 2. Grids Identified as Containing Critical Habitat for Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada. Critical habitat for Cucumber Tree occurs within these 1 x 1 km standardized UTM grids where the criteria described in section 1.3 are met.
Document Identifying Sites as Critical Habitat1 km x 1km Grid ID1Population2Site Name3UTM ZoneProvince/ TerritoryEasting4Northing 4Number of Critical Habitat Parcel Centroids within Grid5Total Parcel Area (ha) within the Grid that contains Critical Habitat6Land Tenure 7County
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_57Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario545000472700001Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_66Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario5460004726000019Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_67Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario5460004727000039Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_76Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario547000472600009Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_77Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario5470004727000186Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_87Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario548000472700008Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_88Baker TractBaker Tract17Ontario5480004728000024Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_78Baker Tract and St. WilliamsBaker Tract and St. Williams17Ontario5470004728000127Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH42_79St. WilliamsSt. Williams17Ontario547000472900003Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH22_51LangtonLangton17Ontario525000472100006Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH22_52LangtonLangton17Ontario5250004722000033Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH22_53LangtonLangton17Ontario525000472300001Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH22_61LangtonLangton17ntario5260004721000028Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH22_62LangtonLangton17Ontario5260004722000137Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH33_99LynedochLynedoch17Ontario5390004739000013Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH34_90LynedochLynedoch17Ontario5390004740000021Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH34_91LynedochLynedoch17Ontario539000474100004Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH34_92LynedochLynedoch17Ontario539000474200006Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH43_08LynedochLynedoch17Ontario540000473800001Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH43_09LynedochLynedoch17Ontario5400004739000031Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH44_00LynedochLynedoch17Ontario540000474000017Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH44_01LynedochLynedoch17Ontario5400004741000011Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH44_02LynedochLynedoch17Ontario5400004742000011Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17PH36_55Memorial DriveMemorial Drive17Ontario635000476500001Non-federalNiagara RM
Action Plan (2013)17PH36_56Memorial DriveMemorial Drive17Ontario635000476600012Non-federalNiagara RM
Action Plan (2013)17PH36_58Short HillsShort Hills17Ontario635000476800001Non-federalNiagara RM
Action Plan (2013)17PH36_59Short HillsShort Hills17Ontario635000476900005Non-federalNiagara RM
Action Plan (2013)17PH36_68Short HillsShort Hills17Ontario636000476800001Non-federalNiagara RM
Action Plan (2013)17PH36_69Short HillsShort Hills17Ontario6360004769000122Non-federalNiagara RM
Action Plan (2013)17NH43_95WalshWalsh17Ontario549000473500003Non-federalNorfolk
Action Plan (2013)17NH53_05WalshWalsh17Ontario550000473500015Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_46Balfour Street PropertiesNorth Fenwick Footslope Forest ANSI17Ontario634000476600004Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_47Balfour Street PropertiesNorth Fenwick Footslope Forest ANSI17Ontario634000476700015Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_36Balfour Street Properties, Maple StreetNorth Fenwick Footslope Forest ANSI, Fenwick Slough Forest Woodlot17Ontario6330004766000232Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_35Cherry RidgeFenwick Slough Forest Woodlot17Ontario633000476500008Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_45Cherry RidgeFenwick Slough Forest Woodlot17Ontario634000476500012Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH61_72Long PointLong Point National Wildlife Area17Ontario567000471200003FederalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH61_82Long PointLong Point National Wildlife Area17Ontario568000471200014FederalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_16RR4 Fenwick, Canboro Rd. W, and
RR1 Fenwick
Northwest Fenwick Forest ANSI17Ontario631000476600006Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_25RR4 Fenwick, Canboro Rd. W, and
RR1 Fenwick
Northwest Fenwick Forest ANSI17Ontario6320004765000034Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_26RR4 Fenwick, Canboro Rd. W, and
RR1 Fenwick
Northwest Fenwick Forest ANSI17Ontario6320004766000150Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17PH36_54RR4 Fenwick, Canboro Rd. W, and
RR1 Fenwick
Northwest Fenwick Forest ANSI17Ontario635000476400011Non-federalNiagara RM
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH21_98Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario5290004718000011Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH21_99Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario5290004719000136Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH22_90Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario5290004720000023Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH22_91Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario529000472100001Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH31_08Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario530000471800001Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH31_09Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario5300004719000017Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH32_00Shining Tree Woods and adjacent propertyShining Tree Woods17Ontario530000472000006Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH43_61Smith Tract and adjacent propertiesSmith Tract and adjacent properties17Ontario5460004731000030Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH43_62Smith Tract and adjacent propertiesSmith Tract and adjacent properties17Ontario5460004732000144Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH43_71Smith Tract and adjacent propertiesSmith Tract and adjacent properties17Ontario547000473100003Non-federalNorfolk
Recovery Strategy (2007)17NH43_72Smith Tract and adjacent propertiesSmith Tract and adjacent properties17Ontario5470004732000014Non-federalNorfolk
Total     16801 ha    

1 Based on the standard UTM Military Grid Reference System), where the first 2 digits represent the UTM Zone, the following 2 letters indicate the 100 km block, followed by 2 digits to represent the 10 km square. The last 2 digits represent the 1 km grid containing all or a portion of the critical habitat parcel. This unique alphanumeric code is based on the methodology produced from the Breeding Bird Atlases of Canada for more information on breeding bird atlases).

2 Population names follow the names used in the COSEWIC assessment and status report (2010).

3 Site names follow the names used in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). Fenwick Slough Forest Woodlot population was reassessed in COSEWIC (2010) as two separate populations: Maple Street and Cherry Ridge, with critical habitat identified as two separate sites (i.e., two polygons). In addition, the Northwest Fenwick Forest ANSI population was reassessed as three separate populations: RR4 Fenwick, Canboro Rd. W and RR1 Fenwick, with all three populations falling within a single critical habitat site (i.e., one polygon).

4 The listed coordinates are a cartographic representation of where critical habitat can be found, presented as the southwest corner of the 1 km grid square containing all or a portion of the critical habitat site. The coordinates may not fall within critical habitat and are provided as a general location only.

5 A value of "0" means the grid square contains a portion of (a) critical habitat site(s) but not the site centroid.

6 The area presented is that contained within the critical habitat site boundary (rounded up to the nearest 10 ha); therefore, the actual area of critical habitat within this boundary may be significantly less. Field verification is required to determine the precise area of critical habitat. Refer to section 1.3 for a description of how critical habitat within these areas is defined.

7 Land tenure is provided as an approximation of the types of land ownership that exist at the sites containing critical habitat and should be used for guidance purposes only. Accurate land tenure will require cross referencing critical habitat boundaries with surveyed land parcel information.

1.3.2 Examples of Activities Likely to Result in the Destruction of Critical Habitat

Understanding what constitutes destruction of critical habitat is necessary for the protection and management of critical habitat. Destruction is determined on a case by case basis. Destruction would result if all or part of the critical habitat was degraded, either permanently or temporarily, such that it would not serve its function when needed by the species. Destruction may result from a single activity or multiple activities at one point in time or from the cumulative effects of one or more activities over time (Government of Canada 2009).

The activities likely to destroy critical habitat were identified in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) as 1) forest clearing and fragmentation and 2) activities which alter drainage patterns, ground water flow and/or soil moisture levels. Additional details are provided here to inform the management of the examples of said activities that are likely to result in the destruction of critical habitat, and include but are not limited to the following:

  • Activities that result in removal and/or further fragmentation of critical habitat such as land clearing for agricultural, commercial or residential development purposes as well as intensive logging activities (e.g., clear-cutting, removal of a high percentage of tree cover). Habitat fragmentation reduces connectivity among populations which in turn affects cross-pollination[11] rates and range of seed dispersal and likely also impacts habitat for pollinators and seeddispersers (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). Less than optimal connectivity among populations (and subpopulations) reduces opportunities for genetic exchange that can, over time, result in a decreased ability for a species to adapt and survive. Alternatively, clearing small patches (e.g., a few trees) that create canopy openings can be beneficial to Cucumber Tree germination and seedling establishment.
  • Activities that result in alteration to the water regime and soil conditions affecting changes to the natural hydroperiod[12], groundwater flow and soil moisture levels such as damming, water diversion and impoundment, all-terrainvehicle use and some logging activities (e.g., heavy machinery use, road building and removal of trees). Prolonged alteration of average soil moisture can adversely affect the optimal conditions (i.e., moist to mesic forests) provided by the critical habitat for Cucumber Tree survival. Soil compaction and erosion can result in unsuitable conditions for seedling establishment.

1.4 Proposed Measures to Protect Critical Habitat

Critical habitat for the Cucumber Tree is identified at 15 sites: 1 on federal lands and 14 on non-federal lands. Seven of these sites were identified in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) and an additional eight sites are identified in this action plan. The critical habitat occurs in two areas in Ontario: Norfolk County and the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

1.4.1 Measures proposed to protect critical habitat on non-federal lands

With regard to those portions of critical habitat on non-federal lands, Environment Canada intends to collaborate with the Government of Ontario to determine if provincial legislation and regulations will be considered to provide protection of critical habitat for this species under SARA.

Being respectful of jurisdictional roles, Environment Canada’s approach is to first look to the laws of the province; and, where necessary, move on to assess if provisions in or measures under SARA or any other Act of Parliament can protect those portions of critical habitat.

If it is deemed that the critical habitat is not protected in whole or in part, the progress towards achieving its protection will be included in the Species at Risk Public Registry by way of reports as per section 63 of SARA.

The implementation of stewardship measures is an important complementary strategy for preserving this species' critical habitat. Environment Canada will collaborate with the Government of Ontario, non-governmental organizations and individuals to facilitate the implementation of conservation measures.

2. Evaluation of Socio-economic Costs and of Benefits

The Species at Risk Actrequires that an action plan include an evaluation of the socio-economic costs of the action plan and the benefits to be derived from its implementation (SARA 49(1)(e) 2003). This evaluation addresses only the incremental socio-economiccosts of implementing this action plan from a national perspective as well as the social and environmental benefits that would occur if the action plan were implemented in its entirety, recognizing that not all aspects of its implementation are under the jurisdiction of the federal government. It does not address cumulative costs of species recovery in general nor does it attempt a cost-benefit analysis. Its intent is to inform the public and to guide decision making on implementation of the action plan by partners.

The protection and recovery of species at risk can result in both benefits and costs. The Act recognizes that “wildlife, in all its forms, has value in and of itself and is valued by Canadians for aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, recreational, educational, historical, economic, medical, ecological and scientific reasons” (SARA). Self-sustaining and healthy ecosystems with their various elements in place, including species at risk, contribute positively to the livelihoods and the quality of life of all Canadians. A review of the literature confirms that Canadians value the preservation and conservation of species in and of themselves. Actions taken to preserve a species, such as habitat protection and restoration, are also valued. In addition, the more an action contributes to the recovery of a species, the higher the value the public places on such actions (Loomis and White 1996; Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2008). Furthermore, the conservation of species at risk is an important component of the Government of Canada’s commitment to conserving biological diversity under the International Convention on Biological Diversity. The Government of Canada has also made a commitment to protect and recover species at risk through the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. The specific costs and benefits associated with this action plan are described below.

Socio-economic Costs of Implementing this Action Plan

The majority of the Cucumber Tree populations are found on private land. Forests in the southern region of Ontario, where the Cucumber Tree occurs, are now mostly restricted to areas with low agricultural potential and consist of small privately-owned woodlots adjacent to farmland. Restrictions and/or alternate harvesting practices for private woodlot management may be considered or implemented in areas where the Cucumber Tree exists. 

As described, seven of the critical habitat sites were identified in the recovery strategy and this action plan does not alter the need to protect that habitat identified in 2007. There could be economic costs to landowners to protect the additional critical habitat identified in this action plan, such as new restrictions on land development. However, since the trees and their habitat are currently protected under the Ontario ESA, 2007, even for the eight new critical habitat sites, this does not represent an incremental increase to these existing costs.

In terms of social costs, as most populations of the Cucumber Tree exist on private land, the identification of critical habitat could lead to unfavourable public response as it may not be supported by landowners. However, as it is a rare plant that is restricted geographically, relatively few landowners across Canada would be directly affected.

Additional costs of implementing the plan include salary and operating costs for recovery measures (e.g., protection and management) and time spent coordinating activities among organizations and jurisdictions involved in recovery efforts. These measures will largely be undertaken by existing agency or organizational staff and will not incrementally increase due to implementation of this action plan. Costs may increase as in-depth research is undertaken but eventually may decrease once more knowledge is gained on the recovery needs of the species.

It is anticipated that most costs will be incurred locally as the species occupies a limited geographic area in Ontario; costs at the regional or provincial scale are expected to be minimal. Any other potential socio-economic costs associated with the recovery measures described in this action plan are expected to be low.

Benefits of Implementing this Action Plan

Results of a 1991 survey on the importance of wildlife to Canadians show that 83.3% of Canadians feel that it is very or fairly important to ensure diversity in Canadian wildlife by protecting endangered or declining wildlife populations (Filion 1993). This is supported by a follow-up survey that showed Ontario Residents spent approximately $4.3 billion in 1996 on nature-related activities in Canada (Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on the Importance of Nature to Canadians 2000).

The Cucumber Tree makes up part of the ecologically diverse and unique Carolinian ecosystem in Ontario that supports numerous species of public interest, including many species at risk (e.g., Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) and Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea)). There is potential for the benefits associated with ecotourism (e.g., bird watching) to offset some of the possible costs associated with implementing this action plan. Conserving the Cucumber Tree as a part of a functioning ecosystem at the landscape level will benefit the Cucumber Tree populations and other Carolinian species at risk.

3. Measuring Progress

The performance indicators presented in the associated recovery strategy provide a way to define and measure progress toward achieving the population and distribution objectives.

Reporting on implementation of the action plan (under s. 55 of SARA) will be done by assessing progress towards implementing the broad approaches.

Reporting on the ecological and socio-economic impacts of the action plan (under s. 55 of SARA) will be done by assessing the results of monitoring the recovery of the species and its long term viability, and by assessing the implementation of the action plan.

4. References

Ambrose, J.D. and S.W. Aboud. 1984. COSEWIC status report on the cucumber tree Magnolia acuminata in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa. 9 pp + iv.

Ambrose, J. and D. Kirk. 2007. Recovery Strategy for Cucumber Tree (Magnolia acuminataL.) in Canada. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources by the Cucumber Tree Recovery Team, viii + 24 pp. + addenda.

Bernard, D., pers. comm. 2012. Personal communication to K. St. Laurent. July 2012. Wildlife Technician - Long Point National Wildlife Area, Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Ontario, Port Rowan, Ontario.

COSEWIC. 2010. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata) in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. x + 18 pp.

Dougan & Associates and Aboud & Associates. 1998. Endangered Species Habitat Mapping Study and Landowner Correspondence: Magnolia acuminata (Cucumber Tree). Prepared for Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Guelph District Office. 57 pp.

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Task Force on the Importance of Nature to Canadians. 2000. The Importance of Nature to Canadians: The Economic Significance of Nature-related Activities. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. 49 pp.

Filion, F.L. 1993. The importance of wildlife to Canadians: highlights of the 1991 Survey. Environment Canada, Ottawa. 60 pp

Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2008. Estimation of the Economic Benefits of Marine Mammal Recovery in the St. Lawrence Estuary. Policy and Economics Regional Branch, Quebec. 51 pp.

Government of Canada. 2009. Species at Risk ActPolicies, Overarching Policy Framework [Draft]. Species at Risk Act Policy and Guidelines Series. Environment Canada. Ottawa. 38 pp.

Kartesz, J.T., 2011. The Biota of North America Program (BONAP): North American Plant Atlas. [accessed October 2012].

Lander T.A., Boshier D.H., and S.A. Harris. 2010. Fragmented but not isolated: Contribution of single trees, small patches and long distance pollen flow to genetic connectivity for Gomortega keule, an endangered Chilean tree. Biological Conservation 143: 2583–2590.

Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998.
Ecological Land Classification for Southern Ontario: First Approximations and Its
Application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

Loomis, J.B. and D.S. White. 1996. Economic Benefits of Rare and Endangered Species: Summary and Meta-analysis. Ecological Economics, 18: 197-206.

Johnson, G. R. 1999. Protecting trees from construction damage: a homeowner’s guide. Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota.

Natural Heritage Information Centre. 2009. Frequently Asked Questions. [accessed October 2012].

NatureServe. 2002. Element Occurrence Data Standard. NatureServe in Cooperation with Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers. 201 pp.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). Unpublished data. Provided by D. Kirk, Natural Heritage Ecologist, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Guelph, Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). 1998. Guidelines for Mapping Endangered Species Habitats Under The Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program. Natural Heritage Section, Lands and Natural Heritage Branch, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Peterborough, Ontario. 16 pp.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). 2010. Fact Sheet: Enhancements to the Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario. 1 pp.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). 2011. Cucumber Tree, Ontario Government Response Statement. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario. 4 pp.

Appendix A: Effects on the Environment and Other Species

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 and to evaluate whether the outcomes of a recovery planning document could affect any component of the environment or achievement of any of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy's[13](FSDS) goals and targets. This action plan directly contributes to the goals and targets of the SDS. Specifically, it will help to restore populations of wildlife to healthy levels and maintain productive and resilient ecosystems with the capacity to recover and adapt (Goals 5 and 6 of the FSDS).

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that implementation of action plans may 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 upon non-target species or habitats. The results of the SEA are incorporated directly into the action plan itself, but are also summarized below in this statement.

This action plan will benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the Cucumber Tree. The potential for the action plan to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. Management for this species has shown that opening of the forest canopy promotes regeneration. 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. The species is shade intolerant and is able to fill gaps from wind thrown trees or other disturbance in wet forest habitats. Because of this, the measures to be taken in this action plan will also have a positive effect on promoting shade tolerant species in wet forest ecosystems (e.g., Spoon-leaved Moss (Bryoandersonia illecebra) and other mosses, Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) and American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)). Cucumber Tree makes up part of the unique Carolinian ecosystem in Canada that is home to numerous species at risk including the Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), Cerulean Warbler (Setophaga cerulea), Acadian Flycatcher (Empidonax virescens)and American Chestnut (Castanea dentata). Because the majority of the recovery measures entailed in this action plan focus on improving habitat connectivity, the SEA concluded that this plan will benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects.

Some recovery strategy activities (e.g., predator management, re-introduction, habitat rehabilitation) may require project-level environmental assessment as required under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). Any activities found to require project-level environmental assessments will be assessed at that time pursuant to the provisions of that Act.

Appendix B: Suitable Habitat As Described by the Ecological Land Classification (Lee et al. 1998) for Cucumber Tree in Ontario

Table 3. Suitable Habitat As Described by the Ecological Land Classification (Lee et al. 1998) for Cucumber Tree in Ontario
Community ClassCommunity SeriesVegetation TypeDescription
Swamp Community Class (SW)Deciduous Swamp (SWD)SWD3-1Red Maple Mineral Deciduous Swamp
Swamp Community Class (SW)Deciduous Swamp (SWD)SWD3-2Silver Maple Mineral Deciduous Swamp
Swamp Community Class (SW)Deciduous Swamp (SWD)SWD4-3White Birch – Poplar Mineral Deciduous Swamp
Swamp Community Class (SW)Mixed Swamp (SWM)SWM2-1Red Maple - Conifer Mineral Mixed Swamp
Swamp Community Class (SW)Thicket Swamp (SWT)SWT2-6Meadowsweet Mineral Thicket Swamp
Swamp Community Class (SW)Thicket Swamp (SWT)SWT2-9Gray Dogwood Mineral Thicket Swamp
Swamp Community Class (SW)Thicket Swamp (SWT)SWT3-11Spicebush Organic Thicket Swamp
Forest Community Class (FO)Mixed Forest (FOM)FOM1Dry Oak - Pine Mixed Forest
Forest Community Class (FO)Mixed Forest (FOM)FOM6-1Fresh - Moist Sugar Maple - Hemlock Mixed Forest
Forest Community Class (FO)Mixed Forest (FOM)FOM6-2Fresh Moist Hemlock - Hardwood Mixed Forest
Forest Community Class (FO)Coniferous ForestFOC3Fresh - Moist Hemlock Coniferous Forest
Cultural Community Class (CU)Plantation (CUP)CUP3-2White Pine Coniferous Plantation
Cultural Community Class (CU)Plantation (CUP)CUP3-3Scots Pine Coniferous Plantation

1 Species at Risk Public Registry

2 The Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk

3 The recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) recognized 12 populations; however, this has been re-assessed using recognized methods of COSEWIC, NatureServe and the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) for defining populations of vascular plants. Groups of plants separated from each other by more than 1 km are considered separate populations; groups of plants that are less than 1 km apart from one another are considered subpopulations of a single population (NHIC 2009). It is important to note that the 18 populations currently recognized in this document do not represent an increase in the abundance or distribution of Cucumber Trees in Canada.

4 Since the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) was published, the Fenwick Slough Forest population of Cucumber Tree has been reassessed as two separate populations: Maple Street and Cherry Ridge (COSEWIC 2010). These are now considered two separate critical habitat sites bringing the total number of sites identified as critical habitat in the recovery strategy to seven instead of six. In addition, the Northwest Fenwick Forest Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) population was reassessed as three separate populations: RR4 Fenwick, Canboro Rd. W and RR1 Fenwick. However, all three of these populations fall within a single critical habitat site.

5 The CLTIP is a voluntary program designed to recognize, encourage and support the long-term private stewardship of Ontario's provincially significant conservation lands by providing property tax relief to those landowners who agree to protect the natural heritage values of their property, including the habitat of endangered species (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2010).

6 Terrestrial area means an area where the water table is rarely or briefly above the substrate surface, and where hydric soils have not developed.

7 The area beneath a tree defined by the outermost circumference of the tree's canopy where water drips from the tree's foliage and onto the ground.

8 Ramets are genetically identical individuals (i.e., clones) of a plant that has spread vegetatively (i.e., not through sexual reproduction)

9 The six populations described in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007) as containing critical habitat have since been reassessed to be nine populations (COSEWIC 2010). Northwest Fenwick Forest ANSI was split into three separate populations and Fenwick Slough Forest was split into two separate populations.

10 The Fenwick Roadside population (COSEWIC 2010) was referred to as the St. David's Roadside population in the recovery strategy (Ambrose and Kirk 2007). This population was considered extirpated in the recovery strategy based on its status as reported in Dougan & Associates and Aboud & Associates (1998). The population has since been confirmed as extant (Ambrose 2009 and COSEWIC 2010).

11 The transfer of pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower of another plant.

12 Pattern of water-level fluctuations of a wetland (e.g., swamp).

13 Planning for a Sustainable Future: A Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada