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Species at Risk


Vaccinium stamineum

What is the status of Deerberry?

Deerberry was listed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in November 2000. Deerberry is listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act, which provides protection under federal law.

Deerberry is listed as S1 in Ontario by the Natural Heritage Information Centre, meaning that it is extremely rare and especially vulnerable to extirpation.

Why is Deerberry in danger?

View of the fenced enclosures used to assess the affect of deer browsing on deerberry populations.
Fenced enclosures used to assess the effect of deer browsing on deerberry populations at Thousand Islands National Park.
© Parks Canada

The major threat to deerberry in Canada is habitat loss, which resulted in an ecosystem function imbalance. This has led to the lack of deerberry seedling establishment. Deerberry seedlings have not been observed in Canada. It is believed that natural fires assisted in providing open woodland habitat that provided the ideal conditions necessary for germination of deerberry in the past. This, combined with the isolation of existing deerberry populations, has led to low genetic diversity of some plants and lack of abundance of plants in Canada.

In the Thousand Islands region deerberry is also at risk from trampling and browsing. Park visitors who stray from established trails can impact remaining deerberry plants. Browsing by deer and other fauna also can impact the individual plants.

In the Niagara region the deerberry population has been adversely affected by development due to tourism. Although it is believed that there were a number of plants in the Niagara area in the past, only one clump exists today.