The Newfoundland Rare Plant Project
Gravel Truck passing examples of the endangered, endemic Long's Braya [Braya longii] growing on disturbed ground at Yankee Point
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The Convention on Biological Diversity, signed by 158 countries at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero in 1992, has generally resulted in a significantly increased international committment to critical biodiversity issues. Many signatory nations, such as Canada, have actively begun the long process of formalizing this committment.
In 1996, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador signed the national Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk.
This document commits the Province to “monitor, assess and report regularly on the status of all wild species”, with the specific objective of identifying all of the wild species occurring within its jurisdiction.
It further commits the Province to highlight those species which may be in trouble, those which may need special management attention, and those which may simply lack vital status-related documentation.
The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is further committed to the General Status of Wild Species, a subsequent national iniative, developed to oversee the tasks prescribed by the Accord, and to facilitate these tasks through a classification system that is consistent in all provinces and territories.
Such a standard classification system allows for easy comparisons between jurisdictions, and aids in co-management of populations that cross provincial and territorial borders.
The Wild Species 2000: The General Status of Wild Species Report [a large PDF file] is the first national report generated by this program. It documents the conservation status of ferns, orchids, butterflies, freshwater fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. A hard copy of the report can be obtained through Newfoundland and Labrador's Inland Fish and Wildlife Division.
Newfoundland and Labrador's committment to the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, and the General Status of Wild Species, as well as to the growing needs of the Committee on the Status of Wildlife Endangered in Canada [COSEWIC], and new agencies such as the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre, pointed to an urgent need to learn significantly more about the conservation status of the diverse flora and fauna of the Province.
As a first step, the Newfoundland Rare Plant Project was conceived.