Marten population responses to accelerated salvage logging in Mountain Pine Beetle stands

Jan 19, 2017

Marten (Martes americana), a species strongly associated with mature forest stands, are likely be negatively impacted by Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) salvage logging that is occurring across central British Columbia. Marten, classified as a Class 1 furbearer in BC, are one of the primary trapped wildlife species contributing substantially to the province’s annual fur revenue. In addition, marten are considered an excellent indicator species for monitoring environmental health and change in old forests. However, it is unclear how large-scale salvage logging in central British Columbia will affect the persistence of marten populations on the landscape. This project started in the winter of 2013-2014 and is investigating responses of American marten populations to landscape changes associated with unprecedented salvage logging operations in MPB affected stands. We are using GPS collars to monitor the movements and distribution of a sample of the local marten population during the winter to examine finer scale movements and habitat use (patch and stand scale). We are also investigating landscape scale changes in marten occurrence and distribution at a broader scale using a grid of 66 remote cameras in both the research forest and in areas outside the research forest where more intensive salvage harvest is occurring. This information is critical to understanding marten habitat requirements in response to environmental change, for making management decisions, and for the conservation of this economically and ecologically important indicator species.