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Forest Health in Terra Nova National Park

The marten is one of only fourteen native land mammals found on the Island of Newfoundland. The marten is one of only fourteen native land mammals found on the Island of Newfoundland.
© Parks Canada

Species at Risk

A species that is in danger of extinction (no longer exists) or extirpation (no longer exists in its original range, but exists elsewhere) is referred to as a species at risk.

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designates and evaluates which species in Canada are at risk. There are three designations used by COSEWIC to describe the level of severity of a species’ status.

Special Concern: A wildlife species that may become threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Threatened: A wildlife species that is likely to become endangered if nothing is done to reverse the factors leading to its extirpation or extinction.

Endangered: A wildlife species facing imminent extirpation or extinction. 

 Species loss that occurs around the world today is largely human caused through: 
                            • loss of habitat 
                            • invasive and introduced species 
                            • global warming 
                            • ozone depletion 
                            • air pollution

Working with partners, Parks Canada’s goal is to maintain and improve the status of species at risk in all National Parks, National Historic Sites and National Marine Conservation Areas.

At risk species are taken into consideration prior to approving any park activities or management actions.

Populations of species at risk in these areas are closely monitored. All efforts to improve forest health will ultimately improve future habitat conditions for species at risk.

The Newfoundland Marten (Martes americana altrata)

Status: Threatened

Threats
  • Loss of forest habitat
  • Accidental capture of Newfoundland marten in snares set for showshoe hare.
Actions

Terra Nova National Park has been a significant part of the recovery of the Newfoundland marten population over the past 30 years.

When Parks Canada began a long term monitoring program in Terra Nova National Park in 1996, there were less than five marten in the park area.

A relocation program began in 1998 to bring Newfoundland marten to Terra Nova National Park from western Newfoundland where population numbers were relatively healthier.

The successful relocation of marten has brought the population in the park area up to about 35 animals.

The number of marten has been able to grow and expand beyond park boundaries.

Global threats to the boreal felt lichen include habitat loss due to moose browsing, air pollution (especially acid rain), pesticides, and possibly climate change.

Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum)

Newfoundland Status: Species of special concern

The Boreal Felt Lichen is a leafy lichen that lives mainly on the trunks of balsam fir trees. It is dark green when wet and greyish when dry. It has upturned edges and a fuzzy white underside. It often has small red bumps (apothecia) on the upper side.

Lichen  Lichen
© Parks Canada
 


Lichen
A symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an algae occurring on a suitable host. The fungus provides water and nutrients from the host and protects the algae component. The algae are able to photosynthesize and to provide carbohydrates for the fungus.

 
 
Threats

The greatest threat to the Boreal Felt Lichen on the Island of Newfoundland is likely habitat loss. This lichen grows mainly on the trunks of balsam fir trees. Therefore, moose browsing can have a significant impact on the Boreal Felt Lichen as it reduces the availability of host trees. Even the removal of neighbouring trees results in changes in microhabitat (such as moisture levels) which can be detrimental to lichen. Pollution is also a threat to this sensitive species.

Actions

Eight lichen thalli (individual lichen specimens) were successfully located in Terra Nova National Park in October, 2010.

Blue Felt Lichen (Degelia plumbea)

Newfoundland status: Species of special concern

The Blue Felt Lichen is a leafy lichen that lives mainly on old- growth yellow birch, but may be found on mature trembling aspen and is occasionally found on white spruce trees. It is blue- gray in colour, with red- brown to black apothecia.

Threats

Moose browsing presents a threat to the Blue Felt Lichen as it decreases the number of available mature birch and trembling aspen. In addition, pollution is a threat to this sensitive species.

Actions

Blue Lichen thalli were successfully located in Terra Nova National Park in October, 2010. The specimens were observed on two trembling aspen trees.

Red Crossbill (Percna subspecies)

Status: Endangered

Red Crossbill  Red Crossbill (Percna subspecies) 
© Parks Canada

Red Crossbills are finches that are named for their unique crossed beaks. The crossed mandibles allow them to open closed conifer cones to retrieve seeds inside.

The percna subspecies is unique to insular Newfoundland. It has a larger beak and a call that is unique from that of other Crossbill species.

Threats

The exact reason for Red Crossbill decline is unknown. However, the continual decline of percna has been noted for decades.

Crossbills are thought to require a mosaic of cone producing conifers for foraging, roosting and nesting. Habitat loss is likely a significant threat to the red crossbill.

Red Crossbill  © Parks Canada
Actions

Parks Canada is working together with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Canadian Wildlife Service on a recovery strategy for the Red Crossbill. Terra Nova National Park is also partnering with Memorial University of Newfoundland to provide funding for graduate research on percna in and around Terra Nova National Park.

This research will help fill knowledge gaps such as the identification of critical habitat. Parks Canada encourages the public to look for the species, particularly at winter bird feeders where they will occasionally show up. Any occurrence data helps to determine needs of the species. All efforts to improve forest health will ultimately improve habitat conditions for Red Crossbills.

Other Species at Risk in Terra Nova National Park include:

  • Olive sided flycatcher
  • Rusty blackbird
  • Short eared owl