Additional contributors: Trevor Goward, Martin Hutten
Generation length: 20, 60 year time frame
Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis was described by Imshaug (1950) and the type specimen was collected from the Mount Rainier National Park near the Ohanapecosh River.
Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis is endemic to the Pacific Northwest.
Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis is endemic to the Pacific Northwest of North America. It occurs in patchy locations from southeastern Alaska to Oregon, including both British Columbia and Washington (Glavich 2013). All known sites have been recorded west of the Cascade crest.
The population size of this species is suspected to have decreased by >30% in the last 90 years due to widespread timber extraction throughout most of the species’ range. The generation length of Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis is assumed to be roughly 30 years due to its longevity and association with highly stable habitats, thus a three generation timeframe is calculated as 90 years.
Large populations in Marion County - Opal Creek and Beechie Creek fires in 2020 likely extirpated multiple locations
Umpqua River site also likely extirpated by fires in last few years.
Olympic NP - likely undocumented, large populations. Fire may pose a threat.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis is an epiphytic species that is reliant on old, humid mixed-conifer forests as its habitat. It is most frequently found growing on the branches and boles of many different coniferous tree species, and occasionally on shrub branches.
The greatest threat to this species is loss of habitat due to timber harvesting. Other threats include development and air pollution and fire. The species is presumed to be sensitive to air pollution due to its association with a cyanobacterial photosynthetic partner in addition to a green algal partner. Predicted warmer drier climates in the Pacific Northwest due to climate change will likely pose a threat to this species.
This species occurs in multiple protected areas, including Mount Rainier National Park and Olympic National Park. It is currently designated as Special Concern in Canada according to the Species at Risk Act (B.C. Ministry of the Environment 2015). It is currently ranked as S3 in Oregon and Washington (Glavich 2013). Conservation actions that will aid in the persistence of this species include protection of areas where it grows from resource extraction, and communication of its conservation status with the public broadly.
A conservation action plan that includes establishing a monitoring scheme to determine finer detailed population trends, and recovery actions, including potential conservation translocations is the most important conservation need for this species. Routine monitoring would also facilitate detection of rapid population decline. There are reports of potentially undocumented populations in Olympic National Park that warrant directed searches (Hutten, pers. comm.).
B.C. Ministry of Environment. 2015. Management plan for oldgrowth specklebelly
(Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis) in British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Environment, Victoria,
Glavich, D. 2012. Conservation Assessment for Pseudocyphellaria rainierensis Imshaug. U.S.D.A. Forest Service Region 6 and U.S.D.I Bureau of Land Management Interagency Special Status and Sensitive Species Program