Conservation Assessment for Elegant Fawn Lily




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Local-scale threats (threats that disturb, remove, or destroy the individual)
1) Potential negative effects from genetic inbreeding in small, isolated population areas

Genetic studies (Allen 2001, Allen, Soltis and Soltis 2003, Allen 2007, Allen 2008, Allen pers. comm. 2009) have shown E. elegans likely evolved from at least two separate hybridization events resulting in distinct genetic groups. Preservation of the genetic variation of the species requires that all current sites be maintained. Most critical are the Saddle Bag Mountain and Fanno Meadows sites which are distinct from the others and have the greatest within-population genetic diversity. They also are the smallest in terms of total plants with less than 230 and 30 respectively.


2) Insect and disease outbreaks including the fungi Phoma sp.

The fungal outbreak noted by Guerrant (1999) has not been recently observed and may only be of minor consequence for E. elegans, however it underscores the vulnerability of the species because of its small population size and narrow ecological niche.


3) Vegetative competition resulting from invasive plant infestation.

Meadow habitat, in particular, is prone to invasion from invasive non-native plants. All non-forest E. elegans sites have some proportion of non-native species growing on them, but it appears that E. elegans is not being impacted at this time.


4) Elk herbivory at Lost Prairie , and possibly other sites.

Raven (1994, 1995, 1996) documented elk herbivory of E. elegans and a resulting reduction in fruit set. It is unknown whether elk prefer E. elegans as a browse species. Herbivory leading to a reduction of photosynthetic leaf surface and flowers that result in reduced vigor and reproductive potential could lead to localized impacts within larger sites, and impact entire small sites.


5) Vegetative competition from shrub and tree species resulting from succession.

Open, non-forest habitat favored by E. elegans is a relatively rare occurrence in the Oregon Coast Range. During periods of maximum forest cover at currently occupied sites, E. elegans likely retreated to small areas of rocky, shallow soil not conducive to tree growth. Following fire, wind events, insect and disease outbreaks, or other disturbance that reduced tree cover, there would be the opportunity to expand into newly suitable habitat. While E. elegans does persist under a forest canopy, a large percentage of those plants appear to be non-reproductive compared with plants in more open habitat. The Saddlebag and Lost Prairie populations are both considered to be in decline, in part because of competition from encroaching salal and conifers. Without historical disturbance by fire, it is likely that meadow habitat would be lost over time through succession, further reducing the viability of these sites.


6) Illegal plant collection for horticultural purposes; E. elegans is a showy plant that adapts well to garden cultivation

If collection of E. elegans is occurring, there is no evidence at this time to suggest that it is anything other than incidental and of a non-commercial nature.


Management-related threats (threats directly resulting from management)
1) Meadow management/restoration activities.

Vegetation management for the federally threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene var. hippolyta) on Mt. Hebo involves mowing and brushing to provide low-growing vegetation conducive to early blue violet (Viola adunca), the larval food plant. The violet is an early-seral species and cultural practices developed to promote its presence are generally compatible with the management of E. elegans, provided that E. elegans does not get mowed as well.


2) Soil disturbance and vegetation modification resulting from timber harvest.

Land allocations at E. elegans sites on BLM and Forest Service lands are ACEC and Mt. Hebo Special Interest Area respectively. Timber management is not an emphasis of either allocation and therefore is not a threat. Timber harvest may occur at sites located on other ownerships, including Weyerhaeuser Inc. and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). The effects of soil disturbance and micro-site changes associated with timber harvest on E. elegans are unknown. To assess them, ODF established 89 monitoring plots at its Triangulation Point E. elegans site in 2006. An additional 47 plots were established as a control in similar habitat on the Forest Service’s Mt. Hebo site where no timber management is planned.




  1. Conservation Status

The rarity and disjunct distribution of E. elegans suggest that this species is a high conservation priority when considering biological diversity within Oregon. Disjunct distribution patterns may present management challenges if management actions contribute to further geographic isolation of known population areas. The potential for management actions to provide positive conservation outcomes is discussed under Management Considerations. Of the six known site areas, four occur on federal lands managed by the Forest Service and BLM.




  1. Known Management Approaches

The Mt. Hebo site is within the Mt. Hebo Special Interest Area. Management objectives emphasize the maintenance of early purple violet for Oregon silverspot butterfly as well as plants in the aster family (Asteraceae) used as nectar sources by the adult butterfly. One of the goals of Viola adunca management is to minimize the possibility that management for the violet will conflict with or impact populations of E. elegans. (P. Bierzychudek, Pers. Comm. 2006).


Experimental management actions for Viola adunca have included:

  • Burning and mowing to maintain short vegetation for the benefit of Viola adunca, which is not a vigorous competitor with taller vegetation.




  • Burning to stimulate violet germination, although the empirical evidence to show this as a benefit is inconclusive.

Two of three known sites on BLM managed lands occur within or adjacent to Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Both ACECs (Saddle Bag and Lost Prairie) were established due to their unique vegetation which differs from the ubiquitous western hemlock plant associations found throughout the northern Coast Range Mountains. Primary management of these areas is to allow for natural succession while maintaining the botanical values for which the sites were designated. Saddle Bag Mountain ACEC was primarily designated due to the old growth stand of Pacific silver fir and the Lost Prairie ACEC site was primarily designated due to the Sphagnum bog. E. elegans was described as a species after both of these areas were designated as an ACEC. The Saddle Bag Mountain population of E. elegans occurs on a non-forested shallow, rocky soils area and on a small basalt outcrop that is sandwiched between the mature western hemlock and Pacific silver fir stand to the west and an area that was clearcut in the 1980s to the east. The Lost Prairie population occurs in an area that was clearcut in the 1980s and is near the edge of a sphagnum wetland. Other than providing some wire cages over individual plants to protect them from elk herbivory, there have not been any specific prior management approaches to enhance the populations of E. elegans at these sites. However, management objectives would allow for manipulating vegetation around the E. elegans locations to improve or create additional habitat.


The third BLM site occurs in a Late Successional Reserve (LSR) near Rocky Point. This LSR area has been established primarily to benefit species that require late-successional and old growth forest habitat. There have not been any management activities at the Rocky Point site. E. elegans occurs on a small (less than 0.1 hectare) basalt rock outcrop that is surrounded by a coniferous forest with a dense crown ratio (~90%). The low available light at the site may limit any chance for this population to increase in size without modification of the canopy.
Willamette Industries has deeded a permanent conservation easement for the Fanno Meadows site, including full management control, to The Nature Conservancy (TNC). E. elegans is being jointly managed at the site by Willamette Industries and TNC.
At the Triangulation Point site, no active management has taken place since E. elegans was discovered in 2000. In 2006, 89 plots were established to measure the response of E. elegans to a variable density thinning treatment that is planned to occur by 2009. As a control, 47 plots of the same design were established at an E. elegans site in forest habitat on Mt. Hebo (D. Clough 2006).
D. Management Considerations
Management Considerations are actions or mitigations that a deciding official can use as a means of providing for the continued persistence of the species’ site. These considerations are not required and are intended as general information for field level personnel to use and apply in site-specific situations.
Climate Change (all sites)

  • Maintain the full diversity of E. elegans habitat and anticipate climate change scenarios when considering future habitat needs. As an example, forested areas that are currently considered marginal habitat for the species may become more important if temperatures increase and winter snowpack depths decrease.

  • Collect seed for long term storage in a seed bank from all populations to insure an adequate supply of seed representing the entire genetic diversity of E. elegans is available for restoration efforts and to guard against extirpation of the species.

  • Determine propagation techniques and germination requirements in preparation of in-situ augmentation or ex-situ introduction.

Inbreeding Depression (all sites)



  • Continue ongoing genetics work that seeks to determine the origins of E. elegans and its level of genetic diversity between and within sites.

Disease and Insect Outbreaks (all sites)



  • Monitor sites on an annual basis to identify disease and insect problems early.

Habitat loss due to invasive species (all sites)



  • Inventory and map invasive species at all sites. Periodically monitor infestations and, if warranted, apply appropriate treatment to control or eradication infestations.

  • Consider practices that reduce the risk of introducing or expanding invasive species when planning and implementing projects in the vicinity of E. elegans sites.

Herbivory

  • Monitor the Lost Prairie site to determine the loss of reproductive capability resulting from elk herbivory. If losses appear significant, consider actions such as fencing or caging individual plants.

  • Management proposals for the purpose of increasing elk population or use in the vicinity of sites should also address potential impacts to E. elegans, and include mitigation (such as fencing) to reduce/eliminate impacts.

Vegetative Succession (all sites)



  • Consider initiating vegetation management projects for the benefit of E. elegans. Examples include timber stand thinning, reducing shrub competition by mechanical and manual methods, and maintaining open meadow habitat by mowing or the use of prescribed fire. Seasonal restrictions to mowing and prescribed fire should be utilized to complement other management objectives of the area, i.e. Oregon silverspot butterfly habitat.

Illegal collection (all sites)



  • If illegal collection of plants is suspected, contact law enforcement officials and request increased patrol of area during times that collection is suspected to be occurring. Annual monitoring of the more accessible sites should reduce this threat to acceptable levels.

Management activities that may impact E. elegans sites



  • Review plans for Oregon silverspot butterfly habitat enhancement at the Mt. Hebo site prior to implementation each spring and work with contractors to identify and avoid E. elegans.

General Considerations (all sites)



  • Establish and implement a Site Management Plan for each site area.

V. Research, Inventory and Monitoring Opportunities
Research:

  • Continue ongoing genetics work that seeks to determine the origins of E. elegans and its level of genetic diversity between and within sites. What are the seed transfer guidelines and can material from one site be used to augment another? Does E. elegans suffer from in-breeding depression?

  • What are the germination requirements or propagation techniques to reproduce plants?

Inventory:



  • Inventory potential habitat (open rocky areas, meadows, peaks and ridges) between known sites to locate additional occupied sites and potential habitat areas. Approximately 90 percent of potential habitat has been surveyed to date.

Monitoring:



  • Incorporate results from Oregon Department of Forestry timber harvest effects monitoring at the Triangulation Point site to increase our understanding of management activity impacts.

  • Monitor the effectiveness of any vegetation manipulation done to benefit E. elegans, or for any other purpose.

  • Initiate monitoring of population trends in different habitat types; design and implement a program capable of detecting meaningful changes in populations (to be determined by agency biologists in conjunction with population experts).



VI. Acknowledgements
Funding for this work was provided by the Interagency Special Status and Sensitive Species Program, Portland Regional Office, Oregon.
VII. References
Personal Communications
Allen, G. 2007. Personal communication. Department of Biology, PO Box 3020, STN CSC, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N5.
Allen, G. 2008. Personal communication. Department of Biology, PO Box 3020, STN CSC, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N5.
Allen, G. 2009. Personal communication. Department of Biology, PO Box 3020, STN CSC, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N5.
Bierzychudek, P. 2006. Personal communication. Department of Biology, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon 97219.
Knurowski, J. 2006. Personal communication. Botanist. Bureau of Land Management, 777 NW Valley Garden Blvd, Roseburg, Oregon 97471.

Literature Cited
Allen, G. A. 1993. Erythronium. In: Hickman, J.C., ed. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley. Pages 1192-1194.
Allen, G. A. 2001. Hybrid speciation in Erythronium (Liliaceae): a new allotetraploid species from Washington state. Systematic Botany 26 (2) 263-272.

http://www.bioone.org/perlserv/?request=get-archive&issn=0363-6445 (9 January 2009)
Allen, G.A.; Robertson, K.R. 2003. Erythronium. In: Morin, N.R., ed. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford University Press. New York. Vol. 26, pp153-164. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=112169 (9 January 2009)
Allen, G.A.; Soltis, D.E.; Soltis, P.S. 2003. Phylogeny and biogeography of Erythronium (Liliaceae) inferred from chloroplast matK and nuclear rDNA ITS sequences. Systematic Botany 28(3): 512-523. http://www.bioone.org/perlserv/?request=get-archive&issn=0363-6445 (9 January 2009)
Allen, G.A. 2007. Molecular Studies of Erythronium elegans and related species

in western Oregon. Unpublished report. On file with: Bureau of Land Management, Salem District, 1717 Fabry Road SE, Salem, Oregon 97306.


Allen, G.A. 2008. The origins of polyploids in western North American fawn-lilies (Erythronium). Botany 86: 835-845 (formerly Canadian Journal of Botany).

http://pubs.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/rp-ps/journalDetail.jsp?jcode=cjb&lang=eng (9 January 2009).
Clough, D. 2006. Status report on Erythronium elegans at Triangulation Point. Oregon Department of Forestry, Salem OR. Unpublished report. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Davis, M.B.; Shaw, R.B. 2001. Range shifts and adaptive responses to quaternary climate change. Science Vol. 292 no. 5517, pp 673 – 679.
Eastman, D.C. 1990. Rare and Endangered Plants of Oregon. Beautiful America Publishing Company, Wilsonville, Oregon.

Grabherr, G.; Gottfried, M.; Pauli, H. 1994. Climate effects on mountain plants. Nature 369, 448 (09 June 1994).
Guerrant, E.O.; Karoly, K.; Lorenz, S. 1996. An electrophoretic analysis of genetic diversity in Erythronium elegans at Lost Prairie and Mt. Hebo. Unpublished report. The Berry Botanic Garden, 11505 SW Summerville Ave, Portland, Oregon 97219. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Guerrant, E.O. 1999. Comparative demography of Erythronium elegans in two populations: one thought to be in decline (Lost Prairie) and one presumably healthy (Mt. Hebo). Unpublished report. The Berry Botanic Garden, 11505 SW Summerville Ave, Portland, Oregon 97219. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Hammond, P.C.; McCorkle, D.V.; Penington, G. 1980. Ecological investigation report: Oregon Silverspot Butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta), Mt. Hebo Supplement. Unpublished report. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Hammond, P.C.; Chambers, K.L. 1985. A new species of Erythronium (Liliaceae) from the Coast Range of Oregon. Madrono 32(1): 49-56.
IPCC. 2007: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fourth Assessment. Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R.K and Reisinger, A. (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 104 pp.
Kozloff, E.N. 2005. Plants of Western Oregon, Washington & British Columbia. Timber Press. Portland, Oregon. pp. 411-412.
Mote, P. 2003. Trends in temperature and precipitation in the Pacific Northwest during the Twentieth Century. Northwest Science Vol.77. No.1.
Mote, P.; Parson, E.; Hamlet, A.F.; Keeton, W.S.; Lettermaier, D.; Mantua, N.; Miles, E.L.; Peterson, D.W.; Peterson, D.L.; Slaughter, R.; Snover, A. 2003. Preparing for climatic change: The water, salmon and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Climatic Change 61: 45–88.
Mote, P.; Salathé, E.; Peacock, C. 2005. Scenarios for future climate for the Pacific Northwest. Climate Impacts Group, Box 354235 University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195.
Natureserve. 2009. NatureServe Explorer: An Online Encyclopedia of Life. http://www.natureserve.org/ (9 January, 2009).
Noss, Reed F. 2001. Beyond Kyoto: Forest management in a time of rapid climate change. Conservation Biology 15 (3), 578–590.
Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center. 2007. Rare, threatened and endangered species of Oregon. Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center, Oregon State University, Portland, Oregon. 100 pp. http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/publications.html#2007tebook (9 January, 2009)
Parmesan, C.; Yohe, G. 2003. A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421, pp. 37-42
Raven, A.N. 1994. The impact of herbivory, pollination success and salal removal on the Lost Prairie Erythonium elegans population. Unpublished report. The Berry Botanic Garden, 11505 SW Summerville Ave, Portland, Oregon 97219. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Raven, A.N. 1995. A two-year study on the impact of herbivory, salal and pollination success on the Lost Prairie Erythronium elegans population. Unpublished report. The Berry Botanic Garden, 11505 SW Summerville Ave, Portland, Oregon 97219. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Raven, A.N. 1996. The impact of three years of salal removal on the Lost Prairie Erythronium elegans population. Unpublished report: The Berry Botanic Garden 11505 SW Summerville Ave, Portland, Oregon 97219. On file with: Siuslaw National Forest, P.O. Box 400, Waldport Oregon 97394.
Stewart, I.T.; Cayan, D.R.; Dettinger, M.D. 2004. Changes in snowmelt runoff timing in western North America under a ‘business as usual’ climate change scenario. Climatic Change 62: 217–232.
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APPENDIX: Associated species at Mt. Hebo sites
Table 2. Associated Species For Mt. Hebo Forest Habitat.


Trees

Abies procera Rehder

noble fir

Picea abies (L.) Karst.

Norway spruce

Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.

Sitka spruce

Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco var. menziesii

Douglas-fir

Thuja plicata Donn.

western red cedar

Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.

western hemlock

Shrubs

Acer circinatum Pursh

vine maple

Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt.

Oregon grape

Gaultheria shallon Pursh

salal

Menziesia ferruginea Sm.

fool’s huckleberry

Rhododendron macrophyllum D. Don ex G. Don

Pacific rhododendron

Ribes laxiflorum Pursh

trailing black currant

Rubus spectabilis Pursh

salmonberry

Sorbus sitchensis M. Roemer

mountain-ash

Vaccinium alaskaense T.J. Howell

Alaska huckleberry

Forbs

Achlys triphylla (Sm.) DC..

vanilla leaf

Anaphalis margaritacea (L.) Benth.

pearly everlasting

Anemone deltoidea Hook.

Columbia windflower

Anemone oregana Gray var. oregana

Oregon anemone

Circium sp.

thistle

Clintonia uniflora (Menzies ex J.A. & J.H. Schultes) Kunth

queen cup bead lily

Coptis laciniata Gray

goldthread

Hieracium albiflorum Hook.

white hawkweed

Maianthemum dilatatum (Wood) A. Nels. & J.F. Macbr.

false lily of the valley

Maianthemum stellatum (L.) Link

starry false Solomon’s-seal

Osmorhiza berteroi DC.

sweet cicely

Oxalis oregana Nutt.

cat’s-ear

Rubus pedatus Sm.

strawberry-leaf raspberry

Stachys mexicana Benth.

Mexican hedgenettle

Trillium ovatum Pursh ssp. ovatum

trillium

Viola glabella Nutt.

stream violet

Viola sempervirens Greene

evergreen violet

Graminoids

Bromus vulgaris (Hook.) Shear.

Columbia brome

Elymus glaucus Buckl.

blue wildrye

Festuca subuliflora Scribn..

Coast Range fescue

Luzula multiflora (Ehrh.) Lej. ssp. multiflora var. multiflora

common woodrush

Ferns and Allies

Blechnum spicant (L.) Sm.

deer fern

Polystichum munitum (Kaulfuss) K. Presl

sword fern
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