Environment and Conservation
December 18, 2006

Minister Releases Recovery Plan for Porsild’s Bryum

The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Environment and Conservation, announced today the release of the recovery plan for the porsild’s bryum (bryum porsildii).

“This species is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act,” said Minister Jackman. “Under the act, there is a requirement for the release of recovery and management plans for vulnerable, threatened and endangered species.” Recovery strategies outline a series of actions identified as necessary for the recovery of the species.

Porsild’s bryum is a small moss that is found at the tip of the Northern Peninsula as well as in the Canadian Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, Greenland, Alaska, Central Asia and Michigan.

The porsild’s bryum recovery plan was initially prepared under contract in conjunction with the limestone barrens species at risk recovery team including representatives from Memorial University Botanical Gardens, provincial and federal government, local residents and botanists. The minister noted that the recovery plan is a living document that can be amended and updated as new information becomes available.

The plan can be found at www.gov.nl.ca/env/wildlife/wildlife_at_risk.htm.
For more information on endangered species, contact Claudia Hanel, Wildlife Division at 709-637-2019.

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Media contact:
Diane Hart
Director of Communications
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-2575, 685-4401
dianehart@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER

Porsild’s Bryum
Porsild’s bryum is a small moss that requires cliff faces with calcareous seepage in arctic or alpine climates. Worldwide, it is found in the Canadian Arctic, the Rocky Mountains, Greenland, Alaska, Central Asia, Michigan and the tip of the Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland.

  • Six of the 11 Canadian locations identified in the status report are found in Newfoundland.
    The scattered distribution with wide gaps may be due the location of ice-free refugia during the last ice age.
  • All known Newfoundland populations are located within 20 kilometres of each other on coastal cliffs.
  • The species is limited by very narrow substrate and microsite requirements, and low regeneration potential.
  • No anthropogenic threats have been identified, but due to the small population size porsild’s bryum is vulnerable to random events and will probably always remain at risk.
  • Approximately half of the Newfoundland population (all at a single location) was lost due to ice scouring and rock fall in the 2001-02 winter season.
  • Approximately 180 remaining colonies (small patches of moss) have been counted at the six locations, however accurate population estimates are very difficult to obtain due to the location of the species on cliffs that are fragile and dangerous to climb.

The recovery plan outlines seven recovery objectives for porsild’s bryum:

1) to better understand the biology and ecology;
2) to determine the distribution and abundance of porsild’s bryum;
3) to monitor the populations;
4) to provide appropriate habitat protection;
5) to assess anthropogenic and natural threats;
6) to carry out ex-situ conservation and transplantation as necessary; and
7) to carry out appropriate stewardship and protection.

Based on these recovery objectives, 12 recovery actions have been proposed. Due to the remoteness of the locations and the apparent lack of immediate threats, none of these actions have been considered urgent.

2006 12 18                                           10:25 a.m.


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