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).

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.1. Forest - Boreal
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.2. Unintentional effects (species is not the target)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends

Bibliography [top]

Banfield, A.W.F. 1974. The Mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press.

Bissonette, J.A., Harrison, D.J., Hargis, C.D. and Chapin T.G. 1997. The influence of spatial scale and scale-sensitive properties on habitat selection by American Marten. In: Bissonette, J.A. (ed.), Wildlife and landscape ecology effects of pattern and scale, pp. 368–385. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Buskirk, S.W. and Powell, R.A. 1994. Habitat ecology of Fishers and American Martens. In: S.W. Buskirk, A. Harestad, M. Raphael and R.A. Powell (eds), Martens, Sables, and Fishers: Biology and Conservation, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

Gibilisco, C.J. 1994. Distributional dynamics of modern Martes in North America. In: S.W. Buskirk, A. Harestad, M. Raphael, and R. A. Powell (eds), Martens, Sables, and Fishers: Biology and Conservation, pp. 59–71. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Godin, A.J. 1977. Wild Mammals of New England. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Hicks, S.A. and Carr, S.M. 1997. Are there two species of pine marten in North America? Genetic and evolutionary relationship within Martes. In: G. Proulx, H.N. Bryant and P.M. Woodard (eds), Martes: taxonomy, ecology, techniques, and management. Proceedings of the Second International Martes Symposium, pp. 15-28. Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

Mcgowan, C., Davidson, W. S. and Howes, L. A. 1999. Genetic analysis of an endangered Pine Marten (Martes americana) population from Newfoundland using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA markers. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77: 661-666.

Mech, L.D., and Rogers, L.L. 1977. Status, distribution, and movements of Martens in northern Minnesota. U.S. Forest Service Res. Pap. NE-143.

Novak, M., Baker, J.A. Obbard, M.E. and Malloch, B. (eds). 1987. Wild Furbearer Management and Conservation in North America. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Nowak, R.M. 2005. Walker’s Carnivores of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Payer, D.C. and Harrison, D.J. 2003. Influence of forest structure on habitat use by American Marten in an industrial forest. Forest Ecology and Management 179: 145-156.

Peterson, R.L. 1966. The Mammals of Eastern Canada. Oxford University Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Powell, R. A. 1994. Structure and spacing of Martes populations. In: S. W. Buskirk, A. Harestad, M. Raphael and R. A. Powell (eds), Martens, sables, and fishers: biology and conservation, pp. 101-121. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

Reid, F.A. 2006. Peterson Field Guide to Mammals of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York.

Slough, B.G. 1994. Translocations of American Martens: an evaluation of factors in success. In: S.W. Buskirk, A. Harestad, M. Raphael and R.A. Powell (eds), Martens, Sables, and Fishers: Biology and Conservation, pp. 165-178. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.

Snyder, J. 1986. Updated status report on the Marten (Newfounland population) Martes americana atrata. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

Thompson, I.D. 1991. Could Marten become the Spotted Owl of eastern Canada? Forestry Chronicles 67: 136-140.

Thompson, I.D. and Harestad, A.S. 1994. Effects of logging on American Martens with models for habitat management. In: S.W. Buskirk, A. Harestad, M. Raphael and R.A. Powell (eds), Martens, Sables, and Fishers: Biology and Conservation, pp. 355–367. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Yocum, C.F. 1974. Status of Marten in northern California, Oregon and Washington. California Fish and Game.

Zielinski, W. J., Slauson, K. M., Carroll, C. R., Kent, C. J. and Kudrna, D. G. 2001. Status of American martens in coastal forests of the Pacific states. Journal of Mammalogy 82: 478-490.

Citation: Helgen, K. & Reid, F. 2016. Martes americana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41648A45212861. . Downloaded on 18 July 2018.
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