Endangered Species Coalition 2016 Top 10 Report Nominating Form Deadline: July 29, 2016

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Endangered Species Coalition 2016 Top 10 Report Nominating Form Deadline: July 29, 2016

General Information

Nominating Organizations: Please use this Column to Provide the Requested Information


Organization & Web address

Dogwood Alliance – http://www.dogwoodalliance.org


Contact name for species info

Sam Davis



PO Box 7645 Asheville, NC 28802


Email & phone

sam@dogwoodalliance.org (828) 251-2525 ext. 19


Communications staff contact name

Scot Quaranda


Email & phone

scot@dogwoodalliance.org, (828) 251-2525 ext. 18

General Species Information


Common name, genus, and species

Atlantic white cedar; Chamaecyparis thyoides


Geographic range

(From Wikipedia) – very spotty along the coastal plain and a little bit north. Primarily concentrated in NY, PA, VA, NC, GA, and FL along the coasts.


Conservation status

Technically of least concern, but “The habitat of this species is very limited,

and increasingly rare due to coastal development.” - https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_chth2.pdf As development continues to progress in coastal areas, this species may quickly decline and become a concern.

Additionally, they have a pretty high habitat requirement and are subject to a lot of pressures, including deer browse, beaver damage, and competition from other tree species. https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_chth2.pdf


Remaining population size

There are no granular estimates of population size, but a report from the NJ Audubon society states, “Historically, the United States had about 500,000 acres of Atlantic white-cedar swamp, with 115,000 acres in New Jersey alone. These habitats stretched across the Pinelands and into the Hackensack Meadowlands and the Sandy Hook peninsula. By 1986, fewer than 40,000 acres remained in New Jersey, and in 1995 the rangewide acreage was estimated at 115,000 acres. The drastic reduction in this forest type is related to overexploitation, changes in land use, and several environmental factors. Proper forest management and restoration efforts can help enhance and expand the extent of this valued forest ecosystem.” - http://www.njaudubon.org/portals/10/Conservation/PDF/publications_resources/AWC_and_Forest_Management_Fact_Sheet_NJAS.pdf

Report Questions


Can you provide high-resolution photos?



If your species is selected, will you use the report to advocate for the species?



5 free reports provided; additional copies = $2.60/each. If you’d like additional copies, how many (bulk orders may be cheaper)?

Public Engagement Questions (Please explain why the species is interesting, why it matters, why decision-makers + the public should care.)0


Provide background information, including interesting facts, for the species profile.

"Atlantic white cedar usually grows in large stands with thousands of trees together. In the Pinelands, the cedars provide habitat for many species of mammals, including ones with declining populations such as the Pine Barrens tree frog, the bog turtle, the timber rattlesnake and plants such as the rare curly grass fern, orchids and swamp pink"- http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/30/nyregion/on-the-map-taking-a-stand-for-cedars.html


What is your organization’s most important lead message for the public about this species’ decline to be included in the report?

Atlantic white cedar is one of many species that has had its habitat slowly degraded by human interests in the last hundred years. This tree species is a keystone species, supporting many different rare organisms like the timber rattlesnake, the Pine Barrens tree frog, and rare, native orchids. We need to value our remaining forests before we lose them completely.


Is your NGO saving the species? If yes, how?

Dogwood Alliance is working in partnership with many different organizations to protect 5 million acres of forested wetland in the southern United States; this will include conserving and restoring historical habitats of Atlantic white cedar.


How can individuals help? Please be specific.

Individuals can help by restoring this tree species to their own land if they live in the appropriate places, and also controlling pests like deer, which eat the seedlings and saplings of Atlantic white cedar. They can also help by reaching out to Dogwood Alliance to volunteer, mobilize their own community, or donate resources.


What action should the new administration take to save the species? How can they accomplish this action?

The new administration should put money towards enhancing existing conservation programs and crafting new legislation that supports and protects forested wetlands. The administration should also squash any attempts to legislate the “carbon neutrality” of the forest products industry. There have been six attempts in the last few years, which would give wood pellets an unfair economic advantage and cause increased pressure on these vulnerable ecosystems.

Criteria-specific Questions – Please feel free to answer N/A or “see above/below” as appropriate. Please cite scientific studies.


Detail the ecological importance of the species. Does it play a critical function in its ecosystem, e.g., as a foundational species or keystone species? How does the ecosystem depend on this species (e.g., keystone predator, keystone pollinator, ecological engineer, refugia provider, etc.)?

See above in #14


Detail information on any social or economic benefits the species provides—e.g., its value for clean water, recreation, medicine, scientific research, etc.—if any. (Optional)

Forested wetlands, like those where Atlantic white cedar grows, are essential for carbon sequestration and clean water. 48.7 million people in the southern US are supported by forests that “filter” their water supply ( http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/47706 ).


Can the species be an ambassador for its habitat or taxonomic group? If yes, detail.

Yes, in the ways that it is attached to other more charismatic species (see #14).

Judge’s Score for Importance of Species:


Describe the specific threat(s) to the species. What are the greatest impacts?

The threats to this species are: coastal development, timber, and changes in disturbance regimes. Deer browse, in particular, may be affecting seedling regeneration. Depending on how the political climate shifts, the bioenergy industry may exert more pressure for harvest in the future. Finally, clearing land for urban sprawl and coastal development may further decrease the amount of Atlantic white cedar left in the wild.


Detail the current and projected decline of the species.

See #10; also deer browse is a somewhat serious issue as can be seen in this scientific article: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1007926903023


If not described above, detail the status of the species’ habitat(s). What are the threats, if any? Is there adequate connectivity?

See #26


Describe the timing of the species’ threat(s). Is it a current, eminent, or future threat?

These threats are moderate but ever present. If the United States throws weight behind the “carbon beneficiality” of burning forests, pressure on these forests may increase. See http://www.climatecentral.org/news/biomass-power-slumps-as-epa-industry-spar-science-20499 for an overview of biomass energy and the current state of affairs. See the scientific article here for a discussion of deer browse impacts: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1007926903023 which may be the primary threat. Decline of hunting demographics may contribute to higher deer populations, in turn hurting future regeneration of Atlantic white cedar.


Indicate if there is an associated political threat, e.g., does an industry group or member of Congress threaten this species?

Because it is valued for its timber value, Atlantic white cedar may be more subject to logging pressures than other wood. Additionally, the bioenergy industry is exerting pressure on landscapes that were traditionally hard to access, because they will take any “low quality” wood.

Judge’s Score for Severity and Extent of Threat:

Judge’s Final Score

Please submit to top10@endangered.org by July 29, 2016, and thank you for participating in the 2016 Top 10 Report.

Please cite any substantiating scientific studies

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