Scientific Name: Betula lenta
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2006
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: A2ac; B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v); C1+2a(i,ii); D1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A widespread deciduous tree of eastern North America that is known from a single small population in Ontario. This population has declined considerably over the past four decades with fewer than 15 trees remaining in the wild. Its habitat is surrounded by residential development and the population is at continued risk from storms, erosion and habitat loss and degradation.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Cherry Birch is a medium-sized tree that can reach up to 25 m in height. The leaves are entire with toothed edges and are arranged alternately on the stem. The bark is smooth and dark and, with age, breaks up into large plates, which lack the curling at the edges that distinguishes this species from other birches. The small male and female flowers are borne on separate catkins, but on the same tree. The catkins and twigs lack hairs.
Distribution and Population
Cherry Birch is found primarily in the eastern United States, with one population in an adjacent region of Ontario. It occurs from southern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania, to eastern Ohio and down through the Appalachian Mountains to northern Alabama and Georgia. There is currently only one population of Cherry Birch in Canada, in the Niagara region of Ontario, 50 to 70 km from the nearest populations in western New York. It occurs west of St. Catharines, near Lake Ontario, at the mouth of 15 Mile and 16 Mile creeks. The Canadian population has declined 72% since it was first recorded in 1967. In 2005, only 14 trees out of the 50 trees present in 1967 remained.
Cherry Birch typically occupies moist, well-drained soils, but it is also found on coarse-textured or rocky shallow soils. In Ontario, it occurs with Eastern Hemlock and various upland hardwoods, such as Red Oak, White Oak and Sugar Maple.
Cherry Birch can reach an age of 200 years or more. Each tree produces both male and female flowers, borne on separate catkins. Isolated individuals are able to produce fruit. Flowering occurs in the spring, before the leaves appear. The pollen and seeds, which have small wings, are dispersed by wind. The seeds develop through the summer and are released in late fall or winter. They require light to germinate.
Land clearing and housing development have directly impacted the habitat of the Canadian population, which has been in decline since 1967. Residential development has occurred all around the presently occupied habitat, and only the steep slopes of 15 Mile Creek and associated ravines remain in natural forest cover. Clearing has also indirectly impacted its remaining habitat, making it more prone to wind damage from storms that regularly blow in off Lake Ontario. With the decline in forest cover, violent storms have a greater impact on the remaining vegetation.
The Cherry Birch is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Status of Recovery Planning
Recovery Strategies :
Name Recovery Strategy for the Cherry Birch (Betula lenta) in Canada
Status First posting on SAR registry
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.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
Response Statements - Cherry Birch (2006-11-29)A widespread deciduous tree of eastern North America that is known from a single small population in Ontario. This population has declined considerably over the past four decades with fewer than 15 trees remaining in the wild. Its habitat is surrounded by residential development and the population is at continued risk from storms, erosion and habitat loss and degradation.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.