Interdepartmental Recovery Fund

#834 Distribution and Health Condition of the Butternut Tree on Crown Land in Quebec

Project Year: 2006-2007
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $66,000
 

In Canada, there are approximately 13,000 butternut trees in southern Ontario, and between 7,000 and 17,000 in New Brunswick. In Quebec, butternut is thought to constitute at least one-fourth of the forest cover in 39 of the 378 forests where its presence has been reported. The most serious and widespread threat for this species is butternut canker, a disease that is currently untreatable. So far, nearly 25 federal properties, with surface areas ranging from 20 to 53,000 hectares, have been identified as known or potential hosts for the butternut in Quebec. Of this number, nine properties totalling a surface of approximately 45,000 hectares are home to a significant butternut population, whereas the other harbour smaller populations or have habitats suitable for the species. The objectives of this project will include the following:

  1. Compiling an exhaustive list of all Crown land home to butternut in Quebec and estimating its numbers based on inventories targeting the field;
  2. Updating the distribution and the status of the butternut in Quebec, by using Crown land as sampling areas; and
  3. Establishing an advisory committee on the butternut tree capable of making recommendations for the conservation of this species on Crown land and on other properties in Quebec.

#1127 Distribution and health of the Butternut on federal lands in Quebec (continuation and conclusion)

Project Year: 2007-2008
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $33,750
 

In support of the Canadian Butternut Recovery Program, the project will complete the work of locating the main concentrations of Butternut and counting individuals on federal property in Quebec; assess the degree to which populations are infected with butternut canker disease and other pathogens and verify their presence; measure the impact of disease on Butternut health by assessing crown dieback; locate potentially resistant individuals; and use these sampling units to update the evolution of butternut canker and other diseases of this species. The Butternut is present in varying concentrations on several federal lands in southern Quebec. In the 2006–2007 investigation, new federal properties were identified as having Butternut trees. An advisory committee was set up for Quebec province to support the work being performed as part of the project. The committee included representatives from Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, the Department of National Defence, and Parks Canada. The findings of this study will be used to guide participating departments in the Butternut's recovery. Collaboration among multiple federal departments is more cost-effective than a set of individual projects conducted separately.


#1853 Identification, protection and assessment of potentially canker-resistant Butternut trees

Project Year: 2010-2011
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $75,150
 

The most serious and widespread threat currently affecting the Butternut tree ( Juglans cinerea ), an endangered species under the Species at Risk Act , is butternut canker disease. No means of controlling this disease is currently known with a view to reversing the situation. It is not known at this time whether the species has any resistance to the disease fungus. Surviving Butternut trees, even if they exhibit signs of the disease, may be resistant to some degree. If this is the case, selecting resistant individuals is one of the most promising options as part of the national recovery strategy for the Butternut.

During the 2010–2011 fiscal year, Natural Resources Canada will identify and tag 10 individuals designated as either healthy or exhibiting minor symptoms and growing within the five federal sites previously surveyed by that department in 2006 and 2007 where the disease is present, which may reveal the existence of resistant individuals, as well as two sites monitored by Quebec's Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la faune and Université Laval. The purpose of including the latter two sites is to better reflect Butternut distribution in Quebec.


A total of 15 healthy branches will be cut and rooted for each tree selected. Canker resistance tests will be conducted in greenhouses on these cuttings to select the best individuals using two strains of Sirococcus (= Ophiognomonia) clavigignenti-juglandacearum isolated in 2006–2008. To ensure the survival and vigour of these trees, the project team will increase access to light around the crowns of some of the trees by pruning or removing the surrounding associate species. The condition of the selected Butternut trees will be assessed before harvesting and in subsequent years to validate the results obtained in the greenhouses. The crowns of the trees selected must be large enough to tolerate sampling.


#1949 Recovery: Identifying, Protecting and Assessing Butternut Trees that Are Potentially Resistant to Canker

Project Year: 2011-2012
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $71,350
 

The most serious and widespread threat currently affecting the Butternut ( Juglans cinerea), an Endangered species under the Species at Risk Act, is canker, a disease caused by the Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum fungus. Selecting canker-resistant individuals is one of the most promising options for the Recovery Strategy for Butternut (Juglans cinerea) in Canada. Some trees that grow among diseased or dead Butternuts seem to be canker-resistant. Well-established criteria will be used to identify these potentially resistant trees, whose GPS coordinates will be recorded at 15 sites where the disease is present. Eight of these sites are under federal jurisdiction. Butternut propagation and inoculation methods will be perfected in the laboratory and in greenhouses to confirm the trees' resistance. Resistant individuals will be propagated again (e.g. by using their buds, each of which could yield a new individual) for the purposes of recovery of the species at certain sites. Material taken from resistant trees (e.g. buds or plants obtained through propagation) will also be preserved appropriately (e.g. in orchards or liquid nitrogen). As Butternut is shade-intolerant, trees will also be cleared to increase light in order to stimulate Butternut's vigour and its canker resistance. Clearing is a promising silvicultural treatment that could protect the best butternut specimens.


#2072 Recovery: Identification, protection and evaluation of Butternut specimens potentially resistant to canker disease

Project Year: 2012-2013
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $45,000

#2151 Recovery: Identification, protection and evaluation of Butternuts that are potentially resistant to cankers

Project Year: 2013-2014
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $47,000

#2263 Recovery: Identification, protection and evaluation of Butternuts that are potentially resistant to cankers

Project Year: 2014-2015
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $40,000
 



#2293 Recovery: Ex Situ Conservation of Butternut

Project Year: 2014-2015
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $94,804
 



#2375

Project Year: 2015-2016
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $61,100
 
This work will conserve ex situ butternut germplasm using cryogenic techniques. Nuts will be collected from multiple sites including federally owned sites in NB and QC, and also from First Nations land and from land under private ownership which is both forested and agricultural. Currently, there are no ex situ conserved butternuts in seed banks, since nuts can only be stored for a maximum of 2 years. An innovative technique developed by Beardmore and Vong (1998) allows for part of the butternut nuts that can regenerate into a healthy tree (the roots-shoot axes) to be cryopreserved (stored at -196oC). In order for axes to tolerate cryopreservation, nuts must first be stored for 1 yr, axes are isolated from these nuts, treated and cryopreserved. The main expected result is the long-term ex situ conservation collection of butternut and database, and guidelines for the use of this resource and how it will support future research, restoration and recovery activities.

#2388

Project Year: 2015-2016
Species/ecosystem(s): Butternut
Federal Organization:   Department of Natural Resources
IRF Contribution:   $47,000
 
La menace la plus grave qui pèse sur le noyer cendré (Juglans cinerea), espèce en voie de disparition, est un chancre, une maladie causée par le champignon Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum. La sélection d'individus résistants au chancre est une des avenues les plus prometteuses pour le programme national de rétablissement du noyer cendré. Nous avons sélectionné des arbres semblant posséder une résistance au chancre. Comme le noyer cendré s'hybride avec le noyer japonais pour produire des individus résistants, nous vérifions à l'aide d'outils moléculaire que nous n'avons pas d'hybrides parmi les noyers à l'étude. Des méthodes de multiplication et d'inoculation du noyer cendré sont mises au point pour valider leur résistance. Les individus résistants seront multipliés de nouveau afin de rétablir l'espèce sur certains sites. Du matériel prélevé des arbres résistants (ex. bourgeons ou plants obtenus par multiplication) sera aussi conservé de façon appropriée (ex. dans des vergers ou dans de l'azote liquide). Comme le noyer cendré est intolérant à l'ombre, des arbres ont été dégagés pour augmenter l'apport de lumière afin de stimuler leur vigueur et leur résistance au chancre. Le dégagement représente un traitement sylvicole pouvant permettre de protéger les plus beaux spécimens de noyers cendrés.

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