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Tuesday, January 30 • 2:00pm - 2:20pm
SMALL MAMMALS: American Marten Habitat Use: A Resource Selection Function for Michigan's Northern Lower Peninsula

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AUTHORS. Angela Kujawa, Paul Keenlance, Alexandra Locher – Grand Valley State University; Robert Sanders, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; Joseph Jacquot, Grand Valley State University

ABSTRACT. American marten (Martes americana) are mustelids used as indicators of healthy forest ecosystems. Marten were extirpated from Michigan’s lower peninsula (LP) in 1911 followed by reintroduction efforts in 1985-86. Marten are known to occur near reintroduction sites, but the full extent of their range and habitat preferences in the LP are unknown. Our objective was to create a resource selection function-based model for marten in Michigan’s northern LP to identify regions marten have a high probability of using. Marten in the Manistee National Forest (MNF) were fitted with VHF and GPS collars from 2011-2016 to collect data on habitat use. Kernel-based home-ranges were estimated for marten with at least 30 known locations; which provided a sample size of 18 individuals with a total of 7352 locations. Characteristics commonly associated with marten habitat selection, including highway density, percent canopy cover, stand age, basal area, elevation, and percent of deciduous, coniferous and mixed forest were measured within each home-range and surrounding available habitat. Using forward and backward selection the best fit logistic regression models were chosen and averaged. Marten resource selection was driven by percent canopy cover and percent of coniferous and mixed forest. Following model development, 50 hexagons with an average value within each high (1-0.67), medium (0.66-0.34), and low (0.33-0) probabilities of use were sampled using remotely-triggered cameras to validate our model. Hexagons were the average size of a female’s home-range (7.6km2) and cameras were placed near the center of each for three weeks. Marten were only detected in areas predicted to have a high probability of use, providing support for the model. Our model suggests that suitable habitat for marten is limited and fragmented within the LP. Management efforts should focus on maintaining mature pine stands with large diameter conifer trees with a dense canopy cover. 

Tuesday January 30, 2018 2:00pm - 2:20pm CST