Use of constructed coarse woody debris corridors in a clearcut by American martens (Martes americana) and their prey

Mar 23, 2018

American martens (Martes americana) are typically associated with mature coniferous forests because they provide overhead cover and coarse woody debris (CWD) that martens require for protection and hunting. Therefore, clearcuts are considered poor marten habitat because they contain no overhead cover and relatively little CWD. We examined the efficacy of retaining CWD and constructing CWD corridors in a recently harvested clearcut to promote the use of the area by martens and small mammals, a major prey resource.We installed remote cameras in corridors, the surrounding clearcut and forest to monitor the distribution of martens and small mammals. Martens and red squirrels did not use CWD corridors more frequently than clearcut areas in summer; forest-floor small mammals, however, used corridors approximately three times as frequently as other habitats (x2 = 13.374, P = 0.001). Marten presence was positively associated with mature, dense forest and long pieces of CWD. In winter, red squirrels used corridors more frequently than other clearcut areas, and limited data suggested that martens preferred the corridors to other clearcut areas. Consequently, we recommend that forest managers retain CWD and construct CWD corridors within clearcuts to provide small mammal habitat, and to enhance marten habitat.