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Ecology of American martens in the transitional boreal-deciduous forests of Adirondac

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  • Ecology of American martens in the transitional boreal-deciduous forests of Adirondac

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPPXyILnIcw

  • #2
    Full disclosure - I think Martins are adorable and I want to hug them.

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    • #3
      Fascinating -- thanks!
      The marten reliance on lots of snow may be a problem if climate change continues. Ditto for mast crops.

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      • #4
        Very interesting article. I’ve seen it first hand, the 2018 Marten harvest was around 200, then 2019 had a heavy beechnut crop and the season harvest was 20. This past season hunting the Black River Wild Forest, my partners and I saw Marten almost daily. The harvest data for 2020 has not yet been released, but I suspect the harvest rate was significantly higher, because there was no mast crop.

        Overall, Marten populations are expanding and their range is expanding as well. They are now as far west as the Black River Valley. Even with the high fisher population, I suspect to see them on Tug Hill within the next few years.

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        • #5
          Finally got to watch this myself. Very cool.

          The map showing the beech density in the central Adirondacks was pretty convincing, along with snowpack and lack of predators.

          Climate change looks bad for the marten though...

          It's odd they aren't on TH due to the massive snow... but I wouldn't expect them to move in. The maps they showed in the webinar show the beech density is very low compared to their central population. A few might take over in there but I think the lack of beech will limit their growth on TH.

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          • #6
            I should add I didn't listen to the Q&A at first, but I went back.

            The presenter mentions they have no plans to reintroduce in Tug Hill. He mentioned the number of predators there as an issue - I assume coyote and fisher. That doesn't mean small populations won't make their way there.

            He also talked about reintroduction in the Catskills but mentioned it isn't ideal. He thinks the population would be too fragmented as the only ideal habitats are very high elevations 2500-3000'+.

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            • #7
              Montcalm, I have trapper friends who say the Marten is already on TH, and DEC biologist claim they recovered a road kill in Rome , NY. As for the beech on TH, there are plenty. 2019 saw a huge mast crop on TH as well. But you are correct, I think the high Fisher population on TH may cause a problem for the marten ? But I think Marten are more resilient than some in the DEC think .

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tug Hill View Post
                Montcalm, I have trapper friends who say the Marten is already on TH, and DEC biologist claim they recovered a road kill in Rome , NY. As for the beech on TH, there are plenty. 2019 saw a huge mast crop on TH as well. But you are correct, I think the high Fisher population on TH may cause a problem for the marten ? But I think Marten are more resilient than some in the DEC think .
                From what I gathered in that presentation is that the marten stray from their home kind of "range" in mast failure years. A couple things seem to happen: their population booms after a mast year due to lower kit mortality and then when mast fails they expand their territories to find more food. This then pushes the martens on the edge of the western Adirondacks, that seem to be breeding populations, and into BRV and TH. If some do survive, it's hard to say if they'd ever be able to breed and really populate those areas.

                I was speculating about the beech density because the graph they showed of beech density in the state was clearly well correlated with the highest marten density.

                They need a lot of things to have a good population per his study: a very hearty nut and seed source, good snowpack, and low predation. For whatever reason he seems to think the predation is too high, and it seems the beech density isn't as high as the Adirondacks.

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                • #9
                  Martens must be really stressed! I am stressed just reading this thread! If someone is not eating you then you are starving from lack of nuts. If it does not snow enough Fishers will eat all your rodents.

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                  • #10
                    TH, I've heard the same about marten on Tug Hill. They are definitely in the SW Adirondacks and beyond. Bunchberry, that's a good thing!!

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                    • #11
                      Lack of beechnuts does not spell the demise of Marten range expansion. American Beech do not produce a mast crop annually. Marten are omnivore predators. They eat rodents , small birds, other fruits and berries, and all the trappers I know use beaver meat for bait.

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                      • #12
                        For sure TH. The research shows this. I think it was surprising though how much they depend on the beech nut though. And how their population waxes and wanes with mast years.

                        In Tug Hill and the Adirondacks we see there is very little oak, so pretty much all the omnivorous foragers depend on the beech nut.

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                        • #13
                          I'll also admit, I'm a complete novice on these critters. I never even knew they existed in the Adirondacks until I watched this, let alone their complex relationship with Fishers, mice, snow and beech nuts. Pretty awesome actually and pretty exceptional that we have an island like that in NY.

                          I knew we didn't have wolverines, or fleeting remnants of them. I have actually seen fisher and other small stoats or weasels (not sure which). And also mink. I think I'll have to change where I look and maybe I'll see a marten some day!

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                          • #14
                            Montcalm, If you spent some time in the Black River Wild Forest, there’s a high probability you would see a Marten to two. They are a cool animal and if seen from a distance, are easily called into camera range, by squeaking like a mouse.

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                            • #15
                              I've spent a fair bit of time there, but I've never seen one. I'm betting I've walked past or near them and never noticed. I'd assume they spend a fair bit of the day up in trees.

                              For me and seeing wildlife in the Adirondacks it seems to be related to time of year. I see more stuff early spring. Forest is easier to see in, plus I think the critters are just more active then.

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