Globally, this species has <250 mature individuals (total of 38 occurrences) (CNALH 2020; Gröner 2010; Haughland et al. 2016; Paquette et al. 2019; Rikkinen 2003a, b; Tuovila et al. 2011, 2012) and the number of mature individuals in each subpopulation is <50. Due to its’ reliance on mature boreal forests, it is at risk of continuing decline from an already very small known population given the continued decline and fragmentation of mature boreal forests globally (Bradshaw et al. 2009). Lichens and allied fungi are slow growing and for this reason loss and fragmentation of habitat, especially for species like the proposed one, directly influences the resilience of the existing populations and can result in irreversible declines.
This species was questioned in 2011 by Tuovila et al., because of issues with the type specimen. Those authors elected to discard the ‘oregana’ name and described instead two new species from the type material (C. diabolica and zebrina). Later, it was found that this was not nomenclaturally possible, and Tuovila et al. (2012) made the correction to reinstate C. oregana, and C. zebrina was synonymized with the it (C. diabolica remains a distinct species). At this time, C. oregana is an accepted species and taxonomically distinct from other allied fungi.
Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?
This species relies on old growth forests, specifically growing on the exposed, old resin of Abies, Picea and Tsuga. Its major threat is from logging, which removes its obligate microhabitat (i.e. old, Abies, Picea and Tsuga with exposed, aging resin), which takes a long time to re-grow.
Most common in the American Pacific northwest (Oregon and Washington States). Recently reported from western (Alberta), central (Ontario) and eastern (Quebec) provinces of Canada. Known in Europe from single collections in Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (although, in Switzerland, the exact coordinates could not be confirmed as they indicate a location in France in the publication that identifies this occurrence).
Population and Trends
There are 38 known occurrences of this species globally (Paquette et al. 2019, Rikkinen 2003b). Occurrences reported since its description in 2003 are minimal, for example it was recently reported for the first time in eastern North America from the Acadian Forest Ecoregion by Paquette et al. (2019), despite focused, long term studies in the area by Dr. Steven Selva (e.g. Selva 2003, 2010, 2013, 2014). The boreal forest (this species’ obligate habitat) is at risk of decline due to forest fire, industrial activities and other human-driven disturbances (Bradshaw et al. 2009, Potapov et al. 2008).
Population Trend: Decreasing
Habitat and Ecology
Chaenothecopsis oregana grows on the exudate (resin) of old Abies, Picea and Tsuga species (Rikkinen 2003b).
Decline of the boreal forest (logging, urban development, land clearing for industrial development).
Unintentional effects: large scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]