Martes americana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Mustelidae

Scientific Name: Martes americana (Turton, 1806)
Common Name(s):
English American Marten, American Pine Marten
Martes caurina (Merriam, 1890)
Taxonomic Notes: Before 1953, two species of marten, Martes americana and Martes caurina, were recognised in North America. Subsequently, these two polytypic forms were found to intergrade in Montana and British Columbia, and they were synonymised 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: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-03-01
Assessor(s): Helgen, K. & Reid, F.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W.
This species is listed as Least Concern because it has a wide distribution range and is present in numerous protected areas. It may be undergoing to some localised declines through hunting and habitat loss (because of clear-cutting), but reintroduction programmes 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:American Marten occurs across most of North America from Alaska through much of forested Canada, into the north-eastern United States, and south along northern California, south in the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains.
Countries occurrence:
Canada; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The 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). The Newfoundland population was estimated at fewer than 500 in early the 1990s, down from 630-875 in the early 1980s (Snyder 1986).

Although the species's continental range may have declined (Gibilisco 1994), it remains well distributed within its geographic range (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 in northern Michigan and Wisconsin have, apparently, restored a self-sustaining population in that region (Slough 1994). Reintroduction also has been attempted in New Hampshire and in various other parts of the north-western United States and south-western Canada (Nowak 2005).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is typically associated with late-seral coniferous forests characterised by closed canopies, large trees, and abundant standing and fallen woody material (Buskirk and Powell 1994, Thompson and Harestad 1994). It dens in hollow trees or logs, in rocky crevices, or in burrows. It is primarily nocturnal. Whilst partly arboreal, it 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-range size throughout North America is 8.1 km² for males and 2.3 km² for females, and the degree of overlap varies (Powell 1994).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: For information on use and trade, see under Threats.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species still occurs throughout most of its range, but because of loss of habitat, it has been extirpated from many south-eastern areas (Peterson 1966, Godin 1977). Marten distribution and demographic rates are affected by the loss of closed-canopy forest to logging (Thompson 1991, Bissonette et al. 1997, Chapin et al. 1998, Payer and Harrison 2003). 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 it survives only in small parts of Minnesota, New York and Maine (Yocum, 1974, Mech and Rogers 1977). In the Pacific states, conservation measures should include a re-evaluation of timber harvest plans that affect habitat in coastal forests, inter-agency cooperation on a coastal marten conservation assessment, and the collection of new survey information, especially on private lands in south-western Washington and north-western Oregon (Zielinski et al. 2001).

Citation: Helgen, K. & Reid, F. 2016. Martes americana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41648A45212861. . Downloaded on 20 September 2018.
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