Canadian Forest Service Publications

Managing forests for Pine Marten. 2011. Thompson, I.D. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Frontline Express 44. 2p.

Year: 2011

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 32123

Language: English

Series: Frontline Express (GLFC - Sault Ste. Marie)

CFS Availability: PDF (download)


The American marten (Martes americana), sometimes referred to as the Pine Marten, is a shy, nocturnal, weasel-like mammal found throughout Canada in coniferous and mixedwood forests. Marten has traditionally been prized by trappers for its high-value fur. Healthy populations of marten are believed to be best maintained through the provision of specific habitat conditions such as older mixed species forests. In Ontario, the current forest management guidelines were published in 1996, and were based on the best available scientific knowledge of the day. They require the retention of core habitat areas, generally large patches (3000 to 5000 ha) of mature and old (>80 years) coniferous and mixed forest. These older forests are the preferred habitat for marten because they contain large living and dead standing trees that offer shelter for marten, and suitable cover from avian predators. The guidelines also require forest management operations to be conducted so as to maintain suitable habitat for marten prey. This involves leaving dead and decaying woody material, often referred to as coarse woody debris, on site to provide habitat for preferred marten prey, such as red-backed voles. This coarse woody debris also provides both denning and resting sites for marten. Limited information is available on the long-term effects of forestry activities on boreal wildlife species such as marten. Intensive silviculture likely decreases desired habitat characteristics for marten because coarse woody debris and standing dead wood are reduced. The effects of changes in forest structure, such as tree species composition, are also of concern. To address the need for further information, a large-scale collaborative field study was initiated in Northern Ontario in 2000 by Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Guelph to gather scientific data about marten populations in managed and unmanaged forests.

Date modified: