Understanding the American marten could aid conservation, but habitat loss threatens its existence
by the University of Maine
April 8, 2022
The American marten is more than just Maine’s cutest carnivore. The marten, which is prevalent throughout the state’s forests, can tell scientists a lot about the population dynamics of a number of other mammals, but forest disruptions and climate change threaten the species’ existence.
A group of University of Maine researchers led by Alessio Mortelliti, an associate professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology, found that the American marten could serve as an effective “umbrella monitoring species” for 11 other mammal species in Maine. Umbrella monitoring species are those whose monitoring efforts are also found to overlap with a number of other species. As such, they are useful in reducing the effort required for important monitoring programs, which collect repeated observations or measurements of wildlife to ensure environmental management goals are being met.
The marten may need more attention now than ever, as the loss of mature forests and habitat fragmentation have led to a decrease in marten populations. Their habitat overlaps with areas of interest for Maine’s forest industry, and climate change continues to transform the forests.
Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.4027