Biology and Conservation of Martens, Sables, and Fishers

Biology and Conservation of Martens, Sables, and Fishers: A New Synthesis

Keith B. Aubry
William J. Zielinski
Martin G. Raphael
Gilbert Proulx
Steven W. Buskirk
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press,
Pages: 536
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.cttn34sk
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  • Book Info
    Biology and Conservation of Martens, Sables, and Fishers
    Book Description:

    Mammals in the genus Martes are mid-sized carnivores of great importance to forest ecosystems. This book, the successor to Martens, Sables, and Fishers: Biology and Conservation, provides a scientific basis for management and conservation efforts designed to maintain or enhance the populations and habitats of Martes species throughout the world. The twenty synthesis chapters contained in this book bring together the perspectives and expertise of 63 scientists from twelve countries, and are organized by the five key themes of evolution and biogeography, population biology and management, habitat ecology and management, research techniques, and conservation.

    Recent developments in research technologies such as modeling and genetics, biological knowledge about pathogens and parasites, and concerns about the potential effects of global warming on the distribution and status of Martes populations make new syntheses of these areas especially timely. The volume provides an overview of what is known while clarifying initiatives for future research and conservation priorities, and will be of interest to mammalogists, resource managers, applied ecologists, and conservation biologists.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6607-6
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Keith B. Aubry, William J. Zielinski, Martin G. Raphael, Gilbert Proulx and Steven W. Buskirk
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. List of Contributing Authors
    (pp. xvii-xxii)
  6. Section 1 Evolution and Biogeography of the Genus Martes

    • 1 Synthesis of Martes Evolutionary History
      (pp. 3-22)
      SUSAN S. HUGHES

      Much new information has come to light since Anderson (1994) reviewed Martes evolution, biogeography, and systematics. At that time, reconstructions of Martes phylogeny were based primarily on comparative studies of living and fossil taxa. Today, genetic analyses and more-nuanced studies of the behavior and physiology of Martes have provided new insights into this topic. In this chapter, I synthesize recent information on the phylogeny and evolutionary history of the genus, drawing on 4 lines of evidence: the fossil record, genetic analyses, Martes adaptations, and paleoclimatic information. I review and evaluate the Martes fossil record in light of new genetic data...

    • 2 Behind the Genes: Diversification of North American Martens (Martes americana and M. caurina)
      (pp. 23-38)
      NATALIE G. DAWSON and JOSEPH A. COOK

      According to the taxonomic overview of Wozencraft (2005), the genus Martes includes 8 extant species worldwide (M. americana, flavigula, foina, gwatkinsii, martes, melampus, pennanti, and zibellina). Recent genetic studies (Stone and Cook 2002; Koepfli et al. 2008) suggest that this radiation may also include the wolverine (Gulo gulo) and, possibly, the tayra (Eira barbara). Detailed assessments of variation within the genus have highlighted other unresolved taxonomic problems, including the question of whether extant North American martens represent a single species, Martes americana, the American marten; or 2 species, M. americana and M. caurina, the Pacific marten.

      Although M. caurina was...

    • 3 Complex Host-Parasite Systems in Martes: Implications for Conservation Biology of Endemic Faunas
      (pp. 39-57)
      ERIC P. HOBERG, ANSON V.A. KOEHLER and JOSEPH A. COOK

      Parasites are ubiquitous and occur in all groups of vertebrates and invertebrates. These relatively cryptic organisms, including both microparasites (prions, viruses, bacteria, protozoans) and macroparasites (flatworms, round-worms, ticks, lice, fleas) exert considerable influence on ecosystems at multiple spatial scales (e.g., Hudson et al. 2006). Although they are a phylogenetically disparate set of organisms, all depend on a host for survival or reproduction or both, and all have the potential to cause disease. Their life cycles may involve a single host (direct), or be considerably more complex (indirect), with adult and developmental stages of the parasite circulating through a series of...

    • 4 Distribution Changes of American Martens and Fishers in Eastern North America, 1699–2001
      (pp. 58-74)
      WILLIAM B. KROHN

      Documented contractions in the geographic distributions of many species of North American wildlife since the Colonial era (ca. 1650–1800) are usually attributed to habitat loss or overharvest (i.e., trapping, hunting, or a combination of both), with little consideration given to alternative explanations. For example, it is well documented that compared with the late 1700s through 1800s, the ranges of the American marten (Martes americana) and fisher (M. pennanti) have decreased substantially in eastern North America (e.g., Seton 1909, 1929; Hagmeier 1956; Gibilisco 1994; Proulx et al. 2004). Despite this extensive documentation, formal investigations of the underlying causes have not...

  7. Section 2 Biology and Management of Martes Populations

    • 5 Population Biology and Matrix Demographic Modeling of American Martens and Fishers
      (pp. 77-92)
      STEVEN W. BUSKIRK, JEFF BOWMAN and JONATHAN H. GILBERT

      The population biology of Martes species has been investigated in various contexts since the 1950s, and was reviewed by Powell (1994b), Powell and Zielinski (1994), and Buskirk and Ruggiero (1994). As do other solitary carnivores, Martes species present particular challenges in the study of population biology because of their low densities (Buskirk and Ruggiero 1994), secretive behaviors, and heterogeneous detection rates among species, regions, sex-age cohorts, and detection devices (Zielinski and Kucera 1995; Zielinski and Stauffer 1996). On the other hand, North American Martes are relatively tractable subjects of population study because they are easy to lure to detection devices,...

    • 6 Evaluating Translocations of Martens, Sables, and Fishers: Testing Model Predictions with Field Data
      (pp. 93-137)
      ROGER A. POWELL, JEFFREY C. LEWIS, BRIAN G. SLOUGH, SCOTT M. BRAINERD, NEIL R. JORDAN, ALEXEI V. ABRAMOV, VLADIMIR MONAKHOV, PATRICK A. ZOLLNER and TAKAHIRO MURAKAMI

      Extensive population decreases of many carnivore species have led to significant range contractions (e.g., wolf [Canis lupus], Canada lynx [Lynx canadensis], wolverine [Gulo gulo], sable [Martes zibellina]; Pavlov 1973a; Boitani 2003; Laliberte and Ripple 2004; Aubry et al. 2007). To reestablish locally extirpated populations, wildlife managers have reintroduced animals to unoccupied areas of their historical ranges. While sometimes logistically simple affairs, especially those in the mid-20th century, translocations require considerable planning, can be expensive, are often unsuccessful, and therefore can be controversial (IUCN 1995; Reading and Clark 1996; Miller et al. 1999; Breitenmoser et al. 2001; Lewis and Hayes 2004;...

    • 7 Pathogens and Parasites of Martes Species: Management and Conservation Implications
      (pp. 138-185)
      GABRIEL MOURAD W., GRETA M. WENGERT and RICHARD N. BROWN

      Despite the extensive and growing body of ecological research conducted on Martes species, relatively little is known about their infections by pathogens or infestations by parasites. The threat of disease is integral to conservation programs aimed at protecting members of this genus because of the insular nature of many Martes species and concern over the long-term stability of small Martes populations (Woodroffe 1999; Broekhuizen 2006; Saeki 2006).

      First, we will define some terms frequently used in this chapter but possibly used in a somewhat different sense by other authors. A pathogen is any disease-causing organism, and a parasite is any...

    • 8 Ecophysiology of Overwintering in Northern Martes Species
      (pp. 186-206)
      ANNE-MARI MUSTONEN and PETTERI NIEMINEN

      As inhabitants of northern forests, American martens (Martes americana), European pine martens (M. martes), fishers (M. pennanti), and sables (M. zibellina) are adapted to cold environments with wide seasonality in climate (Proulx et al. 2004). Although stone martens (M. foina) are not distributed as far north, they also experience subfreezing ambient temperatures (Ta) and snow cover in their habitat. Martes species are exposed to energetic stress during the cold season, which could be aggravated by their need to forage almost every day, even during extreme cold, heavy snowfalls, or strong winds (Herman and Fuller 1974; Buskirk et al. 1988). Although...

  8. Section 3 Ecology and Management of Habitat for Martes Species

    • 9 Improved Insights into Use of Habitat by American Martens
      (pp. 209-230)
      IAN D. THOMPSON, JOHN FRYXELL and DANIEL J. HARRISON

      American martens (Martes americana) live primarily in boreal forests, but their distribution extends south into some temperate and montane forest areas, including as far south as central California and northern New Mexico. Like all predominantly boreal forest species, American martens must have become adapted to the unpredictability resulting from various disturbance regimes, because, over ecological time, fire, blowdown, and insect outbreaks alter forest structure and age composition across the landscapes they occupy (e.g., Fisher and Wilkinson 2005; Drapeau et al. 2009). At any point in time, the boreal forest landscape presents animals with a range of habitat types and forest...

    • 10 Habitat Ecology of Fishers in Western North America: A New Synthesis
      (pp. 231-254)
      CATHERINE M. RALEY, ERIC C. LOFROTH, RICHARD L. TRUEX, J. SCOTT YAEGER and J. MARK HIGLEY

      The geographic distribution of the fisher (Martes pennanti) in western North America (the Rocky Mountains west to the Pacific Ocean) has contracted substantially since European settlement, primarily as a result of overtrapping, predator control, and habitat loss through timber harvesting and other anthropogenic changes to forest landscapes (Powell and Zielinski 1994; Zielinski et al. 1995; Aubry and Lewis 2003; Lofroth et al. 2010). Although the commercial harvest of fishers has been closed for 6–20 years in southern British Columbia and >60 years in most other jurisdictions (Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California), and harvest limits have been reduced in Montana, fisher...

    • 11 Habitat Ecology of Martes Species in Europe: A Review of the Evidence
      (pp. 255-266)
      EMILIO VIRGÓS, ANDRZEJ ZALEWSKI, LUIS M. ROSALINO and MARINA MERGEY

      Habitat is a key element in the successful completion of an individual’s life history, and the selection of a particular habitat can greatly affect fitness Morris 1987). Habitat has been defined as the physical elements used by individuals during their daily activities (Morrison and Hall 2002). In contrast, a species’ ecological niche is the entire set of environmental factors that determine the distribution of individuals, populations, and species along a series of n-dimensional axes (Chase and Leibold 2003). Confusion surrounding these definitions has had consequences for the study of species-environment relations. Here, we use the concept of habitat in the...

  9. Section 4 Advances in Research Techniques for Martes Species

    • 12 Scale Dependency of American Marten (Martes americana) Habitat Relations
      (pp. 269-283)
      ANDREW J. SHIRK, TZEIDLE N. WASSERMAN, SAMUEL A. CUSHMAN and MARTIN G. RAPHAEL

      Previous studies of habitat selection by American martens (Martes americana) were often focused on the relation between marten occurrence and field data collected within a relatively small area centered on a sampling point. This approach has and continues to yield valuable insights about the factors determining marten habitat selection at relatively small spatial scales (e.g., Spencer et al. 1983; Bowman and Robitaille 1997). Recent advances in geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial statistics and the availability of remotely sensed spatial data have made it practical to model marten habitat relations at larger spatial scales. The importance of understanding ecological processes...

    • 13 The Use of Radiotelemetry in Research on Martes Species: Techniques and Technologies
      (pp. 284-319)
      CRAIG M. THOMPSON, REBECCA A. GREEN, JOEL SAUDER, KATHRYN L. PURCELL, RICHARD A. SWEITZER and JON M. ARNEMO

      Radiotelemetry was first used on a Martes species in 1972, when D. Mech and L. Rogers collared 5 American martens (Martes americana) that were captured incidentally during a snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) research project in Minnesota in the United States (Mech and Rogers 1977; D. Mech, U.S. Geological Survey, personal communication). Later that year, R. Powell began tracking 4 radio-collared fishers (M. pennanti) captured in the same area (R. Powell, North Carolina State University, personal communication). In 1973, researchers with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in Canada began tracking 16 American martens in Algonquin Provincial Park to determine home...

    • 14 Noninvasive Methods for Surveying Martens, Sables, and Fishers
      (pp. 320-342)
      ROBERT A. LONG and PAULA MACKAY

      Nearly 2 decades have passed since Raphael (1994) published a review of available methods for monitoring American martens (Martes americana) and fishers (M. pennanti). In this relatively short time period, the number and sophistication of mechanical, molecular, and statistical tools for studying Martes species and other carnivores have expanded greatly. Noninvasive survey methods have become particularly important in recent years (Piggott and Taylor 2003; Waits and Paetkau 2005; Long et al. 2008). At the time of Raphael’s (1994) review, film-based remote cameras suitable for field research were just coming into use, and the analysis of DNA extracted from feces (scat)...

    • 15 Occupancy Estimation and Modeling in Martes Research and Monitoring
      (pp. 343-368)
      KEITH M. SLAUSON, JAMES A. BALDWIN and WILLIAM J. ZIELINSKI

      Survey methods that provide detection/nondetection data have been used in Martes research for decades. Snow-tracking was one of the first survey methods used for Martes species, whereby the habitat characteristics of sites containing American marten (Martes americana) or European pine marten (M. martes) snow tracks were compared with those without snow tracks (e.g., de Vos 1951b; Pulliainen 1981a; Raine 1983). Devices capable of remotely detecting the presence of Martes species are being used increasingly in Martes research, monitoring, and management, including track plates (Ray and Zielinski 2008), camera traps (Kays and Slauson 2008), and hair snares (Kendall and McKelvey 2008)....

  10. Section 5 Conservation of Martes Populations

    • 16 Martens and Fishers in a Changing Climate
      (pp. 371-397)
      JOSHUA J. LAWLER, HUGH D. SAFFORD and EVAN H. GIRVETZ

      During the last 100 years, average annual global temperatures have risen 0.7 °C (IPCC 2007b), but temperatures have been increasing more rapidly in the recent past. For example, during the last 50 years, average global temperatures have risen twice as fast as over the previous 50 years. This trend in warming is projected to continue into the future and will likely be accompanied by changes in precipitation patterns. Global average surface temperatures are projected to rise between 1.1 and 6.4 °C by 2100 (IPCC 2007b). The largest increases are projected for high-northern latitudes, where average annual temperatures may increase by...

    • 17 Conservation Genetics of the Genus Martes: Assessing Within-Species Movements, Units to Conserve, and Connectivity across Ecological and Evolutionary Time
      (pp. 398-428)
      MICHAEL K. SCHWARTZ, ARITZ RUIZ-GONZÁLEZ, RYUICHI MASUDA and CINO PERTOLDI

      Understanding the biotic and abiotic forces that influence the movements of animals has been a central focus of wildlife management for nearly a century. This topic has come to the forefront of wildlife biology in recent years, as the perils of habitat fragmentation and climate change are becoming clearer and more pronounced. Habitat areas that were once extensive and connected are now becoming small, degraded, or completely isolated. In fact, we can consider these habitat changes on a gradient: from those that completely eliminate the movement potentials of animals, to those that marginally limit the probability of a successful dispersal...

    • 18 Use of Habitat and Viability Models in Martes Conservation and Restoration
      (pp. 429-450)
      CARLOS CARROLL, WAYNE D. SPENCER and JEFFREY C. LEWIS

      Conservation and management of Martes populations are increasingly informed by quantitative models that predict habitat suitability and population viability. Statistical models of habitat relations can help increase understanding of the factors limiting a species’ distribution, facilitate protection and enhancement of habitat, predict distribution in unsurveyed areas, and evaluate suitability of currently unoccupied areas for reintroduction. More complex population-viability models that integrate data on habitat and demography are also increasingly employed to evaluate the effects of alternative management options on population persistence.

      Like many carnivores, North American Martes species (American marten [M. americana], and fisher [M. pennanti]) have undergone range contractions...

    • 19 Conservation of Martens, Sables, and Fishers in Multispecies Bioregional Assessments
      (pp. 451-470)
      BRUCE G. MARCOT and MARTIN G. RAPHAEL

      The conservation of species deemed to be at risk or subject to loss from harvest often takes the form of single-species approaches to developing and implementing management guidelines. Nothing replaces local autecological research on species’ life history, population status and dynamics, and responses to threats and stressors. For ensuring the long-term viability of at-risk species, however, a greater measure of success can be provided by embedding single-species assessments and guidelines into the broader context of multispecies bioregional assessments.

      Martens, sables, and fishers (Martes spp.) occupy a diverse array of ecosystems throughout the world that vary greatly in their ecological communities,...

    • 20 A Century of Change in Research and Management on the Genus Martes
      (pp. 471-490)
      GILBERT PROULX and MARGARIDA SANTOS-REIS

      For centuries, the American marten (Martes americana), European pine marten (M. martes), stone marten (M. foina), sable (M. zibellina), and fisher (M. pennanti) were renowned for the quality of their pelts, which have been both an article of trade and a currency (Innis 1956; Delort 1986). In the 1900s, when the scientific world became interested in this genus, Martes species were still widely distributed throughout Europe, Eurasia, and North America (Delort 1986). During the 20th century, Martes taxonomy, evolution, biogeography, habitat, and populations were investigated extensively, and conservation practices were developed. Human populations and lifestyles, socioeconomics, and cultural and ethical...

  11. Literature Cited
    (pp. 491-576)
  12. Index
    (pp. 577-580)