Species at Risk
What is the status of Fernald’s Braya?
Fernald’s Braya shares its habitat with another very similar species, Long’s Braya. Long’s Braya is an endangered species, in other words, it faces imminent extinction if its habitat continues to be disturbed by human use.
In 1997, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC
), designated Fernald’s Braya as a threatened
species in Canada.
Federally, Fernald’s Braya is protected under the Species at Risk Act.
In 2002, this plant was placed under the protection of Newfoundland’s Endangered Species Act.
This means that it is illegal to damage this plant and it must not be picked, trampled, or harmed in any way.
Why is Fernald’s Braya in danger?
Habitat loss, resulting from various human activities, is the main threat to Fernald’s Braya:
- Quarrying has destroyed large areas of the limestone barrens and remains the main threat to the species’ survival.
- Road construction has also destroyed a sizeable percentage of the barrens during the last 20 years.
- Off-road vehicle traffic damages plants and compresses the limestone gravel, making it un-useable by many plants.
These activities affect not only Fernald’s Braya but many other elements of its ecosystem.
Limestone barrens make up 1% of the island of Newfoundland. They occur along the west coast of the Great Northern Peninsula in the northwestern part of the island. Fernald’s Braya is only found in 14 locations along the coast. © Parks Canada / Michael Burzinski
Certain herbivorous insects and snails also pose a threat to Fernald’s Braya. For example, every summer, an exotic moth is carried by the wind from the United States to Newfoundland and the caterpillars can cause serious damage to the tiny braya populations.
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