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Movement patterns, habitat selection, and corridor use of a typical woodland-dweller species, the European pine marten (Martes martes), in fragmented landscape

Canadian Journal of Zoology

Abstract

Woodland fragmentation through land consolidation practices (the merging of small fields by the removal of separating structures like hedgerows) is recognised as a major threat to biodiversity in Europe. While its impact on the occurrence of species has frequently been the object of focus, its impact on the movements of individuals has rarely been studied. We used paths of radio-tracked European pine martens (Martes martes (L., 1758)), a forest-dwelling species, with fixes taken at 3 min intervals to determine their habitat use in fragmented landscape. Our results differ from those generally reported in the literature. Monitored individuals were not confined to large forests, and made additional use of small wood plots and hedgerows. Indeed, individuals moved faster in forests than in all other habitat types, which suggests that martens preferentially foraged in small woods, edges, and hedgerows. Roads and buildings were not avoided; fields, however, were avoided, although they did not act as barriers. Martens stayed close to forest cover when venturing into open ground, which suggests that although not restricted to forests, pine martens exhibit a certain dependence on the presence of trees in the vicinity.

Author(s): Pereboom, V; Mergey, M; Villerette, N; Helder, R; Gerard, JF; Lode, T

Journal: Canadian Journal of Zoology

Year: 2008

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