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Title: Forest thinning changes movement patterns and habitat use by Pacific marten

Author: Moriarty, Katie M.; Epps, Clinton W.; Zielinski, William J.;

Date: 2016

Source: The Journal of Wildlife Management

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: ABSTRACT Simplifying stand structure to reduce fuel density is a high priority for forest managers; however, affects to Pacific marten (Martes caurina) movement and connectivity are unknown. We evaluated whether thinning forests to reduce fuels influenced movements of Pacific marten. We collected movement paths from 22 martens using global positioning system telemetry to evaluate habitat selection and describe movement patterns. Wequantified motion variance, speed, and path sinuosity in 3 stand types that differed in structural complexity (i.e., complex [dense], simple [thinned], and open). We hypothesized marten movement would differ between stand types and predicted that 1) martens would select stand types with increased structural complexity (complex>simple>open); 2) movements would increase in complexity (sinuosity, motion variance) and decrease in speed when martens traveled through stands with increased structural complexity; 3) speeds would increase during summer, indicating increased movement during the breeding season; and 4) males would move more rapidly because of their larger home ranges. Martens traveled 0.5–27.2 km/day and an average (SD) of 1.4 (0.4) km/hour. Martens selected home ranges with fewer openings compared to the study area overall. Within home ranges, martens strongly selected complex stands over simple stands and openings. Speed and movement complexity were most consistent over time and movements were more sinuous and slower in complex stand types compared with openings and simple stands. Movement was erratic and more linear in openings than in both complex and simple stands. In simple stands, movement patterns were intermediate between complex stands and openings. Females generally moved more slowly, sinuously, and less variably compared to males. Martensmovedmore quickly, less sinuously, andmore variably during winter compared to summer. However, martens avoided stands with simplified structure, and the altered patterns of movement we observed in those stands suggested that such treatments may negatively affect the ability of martens to forage without increased risk of predation. Fuel treatments that simplify stand structure negatively affected marten movements and habitat connectivity. Given these risks, and because treating fuels is less justified in high elevation forests, the risks can be minimized by applying treatments below the elevations where martens typically occur.  2016 The Wildlife Society.

Keywords: animal movement, California, marten, Martes caurina, movement, predation, risk, thinning, travel speed, vigilance.

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Moriarty, Katie M.; Epps, Clinton W.; Zielinski, William J. 2016. Forest thinning changes movement patterns and habitat use by Pacific marten. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 80(4): 621-633.


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