The coastal marten is at a high risk for extinction in Oregon and northern California in the next 30 years due to threats from human activities, according to a new study.
“The study, published today in the online journal PeerJ, will be available to federal and state wildlife agencies for their consideration to determine whether distinct geographic population segments of the coastal marten warrant state or federal listing as threatened or endangered, said Katie Moriarty, a certified wildlife biologist and lead co-author on the study.
Their population assessment revealed that the central Oregon population of coastal martens is likely fewer than 87 adults divided into two subpopulations separated by the Umpqua River. Using a population viability analysis, they concluded that the extinction risk for a subpopulation of 30 martens ranged from 32 percent to 99 percent.
In the short term, limiting human-caused deaths of the coastal martens would have the greatest impact on the animal’s survival, said Moriarty, who has studied the animals for several years. In the long term, the species requires more habitat, which perhaps could be accomplished by making the adjacent federal land in Siuslaw National Forest suitable for martens.”
So this isn’t just new information for use in the ESA listing process, but it also raises new questions about whether existing forest plans would provide conditions needed for viable populations. I look forward to seeing how the Forest Service answers this question. (And yes, the Forest Service does have the authority to limit trapping.)