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Martes americana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CARNIVORA MUSTELIDAE

Scientific Name: Martes americana
Species Authority: (Turton, 1806)
Common Name(s):
English American Marten, American Pine Marten
Taxonomic Notes: Before 1953, two species of martens, Martes americana and Martes caurina, were recognized in North America. Subsequently, these two polytypic forms were found to intergrade in Montana and British Columbia, and they were synonymized under Martes americana, which is now considered to comprise two subspecies groups (americana and caurina). However, based on genetic data, Hicks and Carr (1997) and McGowan et al. (1999) suggested that the caurina and americana groups may indeed represent two distinct species. Wozencraft (2005) noted that most authorities have regarded caurina and americana as subspecies groups rather than as species.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Reid, F. & Helgen, K.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
This species is listed as Least Concern as the species has a wide distribution range and is present in numerous protected areas. It may be undergoing to some localized declines due to hunting and habitat loss due to clear-cutting practices, however, reintroduction programs have contributed to a moderate comeback in some areas. Adequate population data are unavailable for much of the range, but the total population size is at least several hundred thousand individuals.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: American martens occur accross most of North America from Alaska through much of forested Canada, into the northeastern United States, and south along northern California, south in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains.
Countries:
Native:
Canada; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Total population size is unknown but probably is at least several hundred thousand; for example, the harvest in North America in the 1983-1984 trapping season was nearly 190,000 (Novak et al. 1987). Newfoundland population was estimated at less than 500 in early the 1990s, down from 630-875 in the early 1980s (Snyder, 1986 COSEWIC report).

Although their continental range may have declined (Gibilisco, 1994), populations of martens have not suffered the magnitude of the decrease and the species is well distributed within its geographic ranges (Zielinski et al., 2001). Adequate population data are unavailable for much of the range. Population density was found to vary from about 0.5/km2 to 1.7/km2 of good habitats (Banfield, 1974). Reintroduction projects have been carried out in northern Michigan and Wisconsin and it appears that a self-sustaining population has been restored in that region (Slough, 1994). Reintroduction also has been attempted in New Hampshire and in various other parts of the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada (Nowak, 2005).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is typically associated with late-seral coniferous forests characterized by closed canopies, large trees, and
abundant standing and down woody material (Buskirk and Powell, 1994; Thompson and Harestad, 1994). It dens in hollow trees or logs, in rocky crevices, or in burrows. The marten is primarly nocturnal and partly arboreal but spends considerable time on the ground. The diet consists mostly of rodents and other small mammals and also includes birds, insects, fruit and carrion (Nowak, 2005). Average home size throughout North America is 8.1 km2 for males and 2.3 km2 for females, and degree of overlap varies (Powell, 1994).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species still occurs throughout most of this range, but because of loss of habitat, it has been extirpated from many southeastern areas (Godin, 1977; Peterson, 1966). Marten distribution and demographic rates are affected by the loss of closed-canopy forest due to logging (Bissonette et al., 1997; Chapin et al. 1998; Payer and Harrison, 2003; Thompson, 1991). Martens are still legally trapped for their fur in most of the western states (Zielinski et al. 2001). By the early twentieth century excessive trapping had severely depleted M. americana in Alaska, Canada and the western conterminous United States. The range of this species has declined (Reid 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In most state and provincial jurisdictions in western North America where it occurs, the American marten is managed as a furbearer. Protective regulations allowed the species to make a comeback in some areas, but in the eastern United States the marten survives only in small parts of Minnesota, New york and Maine (Blanchard, 1974; Mech, 1961; Mech and Rogers, 1977; Yocom, 1974). In the Pacific states, conservation measures should include a reevaluation of timber harvest plans that affect habitat in coastal forests, interagency cooperation on a coastal marten conservation assessment, and the collection of new survey information, especially on private lands in southwestern Washington and northwestern Oregon (Zielinski et al., 2001).

Citation: Reid, F. & Helgen, K. 2008. Martes americana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 November 2014.
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