Studying the American Marten and Our Forests
INFLUENCE OF INTENSIVE FOREST MANAGEMENT ON AMERICAN MARTEN POPULATIONS
Forests are intricate communities including many types of life like the trees, plants, animals, insects, fungi and microorganisms that live there. The American Pine Marten, a member of the weasel family, is often linked with mature Northern forest. The dense cover of tree branches provide protection from their enemies like hawks and standing and downed dead trees provide denning sites. Martens feed on squirrels and small ground animals like voles in these forests.
While a lot of research has been done on Marten populations in mature forests in the State of Maine and New Brunswick, less is known about their use of intensively managed planted stands. Collaborative research with the Universite de Moncton in Edmunston since 2001 has studied the number and ages of martens living in planted forests in JDI’s Black Brook forest district in North-Western New Brunswick. This work is ongoing to provide knowledge about suitability of planted forests at various stages of development as Marten habitat.
Martens are generally abundant in areas covered by planted forests that more than 20 years old. They need cover, downed woody debris and preys in their home range and seem to be able to find these elements in areas where planted forests that are 20 years or more are intermingled with mature forests.