Species Profile

Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen

Scientific Name: Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis
Other/Previous Names: Oldgrowth Specklebelly
Taxonomy Group: Lichens
Range: British Columbia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2010
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen

Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen Photo 1

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Description

Like all lichens, this plant is a fungus and an alga growing as a unit. It is large (5 to 12 cm across), broad-lobed, and loosely attached. The dull upper surface is a pale greenish-blue that is usually smooth, although short stiff hairs may appear and make it feel rough. The top is also often weakly dimpled. This is the only North American lichen with a spotted lower surface (tiny white spots on a pale brownish background), a white medulla, and torn lobe margins. The underneath is also wrinkled and matted with short tufts of hair. The lobes are short to elongate, thin, stiff and brittle; they loosely overlap and measure 1.5 to 3 cm across.

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Distribution and Population

The species is endemic to the Pacific Northwest. It is known to occur in six locations in Canada, all of them in British Columbia. It is more widely distributed in Washington and Oregon. Of the Canadian sites, only one, located in the upper Chilliwack Valley, has been verified recently. Two other populations are likely extirpated, and the status of the remaining three locations is not known. In at least two locations, the populations consist of a single plant. About half the specimens recently examined showed signs of environmental stress. Although they contained reproductive organs, they evidently were having very low reproductive success compared with southern specimens.

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Habitat

The plant is restricted in Canada to sheltered old-growth forest ecosystems in British Columbia. It is found at low to moderate elevations in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone. It occupies at least five of the ten sub-zones, which suggests that the plant is widely but sparsely distributed. It colonizes a wide assortment of trees and shrubs, but occurs most frequently on conifers. It is very slow at becoming established, but can become locally abundant with time. The climatic conditions of the habitat in B.C. are highly oceanic and markedly humid. Associated species include Sword Fern, False Azalea, Alaska Blueberry, Oval-leaf Blueberry and Dwarf Dogwood.

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Biology

Although the plants possess sexual organs, their reproduction seems to occur through vegetative means, by the production and dispersal of spores. The spores can be dispersed by water, wind or animals. Migratory birds likely carry spores long distances in their feathers and on their feet.

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Threats

Natural causes of mortality in this species include fire, wind, and insect outbreaks. Prolonged periods of wet weather may also be damaging. Selective harvesting and forest clearing are the only activities likely to affect the species throughout its range. The lichen is highly sensitive to logging, which is blamed for the extirpation of one population on Vancouver Island. It is not likely to become established in the plantation forests that are replacing old-growth forests in many portions of coastal British Columbia. Global warming and deteriorating air quality could become limiting factors.

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Protection

Federal Protection

More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

A recently confirmed population occurs in an ecological reserve and is protected by the Ecological Reserves Act. Other sites, situated on crown lands managed by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, are vulnerable to logging.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

10 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Oldgrowth Specklebelly Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis in Canada (2010)

    The Oldgrowth Specklebelly lichen (Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis Imsh.) is a distinctive macrolichen characterized by large, draping, curtain-like lobes, a pale greenish-blue upper surface, a green algal photobiont (accompanied by a cyanobacterial photobiont in the form of internal cephalodia), ragged, lobulate to isidiate lobe margins, and a pale lower surface bearing scattered small white spots (pseudocyphellae).

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment Summary and Status Report: Oldgrowth Specklebelly Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis (2010)

    Assessment Summary – April 2010 Common nameOldgrowth Specklebelly Scientific name Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis StatusSpecial Concern Reason for designationThis foliose, tree–inhabiting lichen is endemic to old–growth rainforests of western North America. In Canada, it is limited to coastal or near–coastal areas of southern British Columbia. Recent discoveries of additional records have only slightly expanded the known range of occurrence, and the lichen remains threatened by ongoing loss of old growth forests through clear–cut logging. The low dispersal ability of its heavy propagules contributes to its rarity, as does its restriction to nutrient hotspots, such as dripzones under old Yellow–cedars, toe slope positions, and sheltered seaside forests. It tends to occur discontinuously and on very few trees in the stands where it is established. OccurrenceBritish Columbia Status historyDesignated Special Concern in April 1996. Status re–examined and confirmed in April 2010.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen (2010)

    This foliose, tree-inhabiting lichen is endemic to old-growth rainforests of western North America. In Canada, it is limited to coastal or near-coastal areas of southern British Columbia. Recent discoveries of additional records have only slightly expanded the known range of occurrence, and the lichen remains threatened by ongoing loss of old growth forests through clear-cut logging. The low dispersal ability of its heavy propagules contributes to its rarity, as does its restriction to nutrient hotspots, such as dripzones under old Yellow-cedars, toe slope positions, and sheltered seaside forests. It tends to occur discontinuously and on very few trees in the stands where it is established.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site (2016)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site meets the requirements for an action plan set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan that occur inside the boundary of the site. This action plan will be updated to more comprehensively include measures to conserve and recover the marine species at risk once the first integrated Land, Sea, People management plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve & Haida Heritage Site (hereafter called Gwaii Haanas) is complete. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in Gwaii Haanas.

Management Plans

  • Management Plan for the Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen (Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis) in Canada (2017)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency is the competent minister under SARA for the Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen and has prepared the federal component of this management plan (Part 1) as per section 65 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia. SARA section 69 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if the Minister is of the opinion that an existing plan relating to wildlife species includes adequate measures for the conservation of the species. The Province of British Columbia provided the attached management plan for the Oldgrowth Specklebelly Lichen (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Parks Canada Agency.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2011)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, hereby acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments conducted under subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2012)

    The purpose of the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act is to add 18 species to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk (the List), and to reclassify 7 listed species, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of SARA. This amendment is made on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 (2010)

    Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following: Extirpated: 6 Endangered: 39 Threatened: 16 Special Concern: 17 Data Deficient: 1 This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report. Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk. This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species – November 2010 (2010)

    As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Please submit your comments by February 4, 2011 for species undergoing normal consultations and by February 4, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update March 17, 2017