Density and population viability of coastal marten: a rare and geographically isolated small carnivore

“Pacific martens (Martes caurina humboldtensis) in coastal forests of Oregon and northern California in the United States are rare and geographically isolated, prompting a petition for listing under the Endangered Species Act. If listed, regulations have the potential to influence land-use decisions on public and private lands, but no estimates of population size, density, or viability of remnant marten populations are available for evaluating their conservation status. We used GPS and VHF telemetry and spatial mark-resight to estimate home ranges, density, and population size of Pacific martens in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, central coast Oregon, USA. We then estimated population viability at differing levels of human-caused mortality (e.g., vehicle mortality). Marten home ranges were small on average (females = 0.8 km2, males 1.5 km2) and density (1.13 martens/1 km2) was the highest reported for North American populations (M. caurinaM. americana). We estimated 71 adult martens (95% CRI [41–87]) across two subpopulations separated by a large barrier (Umpqua River). Using population viability analysis, extinction risk for a subpopulation of 30 martens, approximately the size of the subpopulation south of the Umpqua River, ranged from 32% to 99% with two or three annual human-caused mortalities within 30 years. Absent population expansion, limiting human-caused mortalities will likely have the greatest conservation impact.”

Read the full research article here.

Authors: 1234

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