Non-invasively determined multi-site variation in pine marten Martes martes density, a recovering carnivore in Europe

O’Mahony, Declan T. and Powell, Ciara and Power, John and Hanniffy, Ruth and Marnell, Ferdia and Turner, Peter and O’Reilly, Catherine (2017) Non-invasively determined multi-site variation in pine marten Martes martes density, a recovering carnivore in Europe. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 63 (3). ISSN 1612-4642

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Pine martens (Martes martes) are subject to national and international conservation legislation throughout most of their European range. Yet population density and abundance estimates, which are a key component of effective conservation management, are lacking in many countries. In this study, a large-scale non-invasive survey was undertaken in 14 forested study sites throughout Ireland to assess variation in pine marten density and abundance. Pine marten hair samples were collected in each study site and analysed using genetic techniques to determine individual identity data. Density and abundance estimates were obtained using spatially explicit capture-recapture models and CAPWIRE. Across all study sites, a total of 93 individual pine marten were identified and captured 217 times. Estimated pine marten density varied from 0 to 2.60 individuals per km2 of forested habitat, with all but a single site having estimated densities of ≤1 pine marten per km2 of forest habitat. Mean population abundance estimates across all study sites ranged from 0 to 27 individuals. Spatially explicit capture-recapture models on combined data across all 14 study sites provided a mean density estimate of 0.64 (95% CI 0.49–0.81). Combining this with data on the current distribution and estimated area of forest habitat occupied by the species in Ireland, the total pine marten population abundance of pine marten in Ireland was estimated at 3043 (95% CI 2330–3852) individuals. This research has conducted the largest scale investigation of pine marten density and abundance in any part of its global distribution and provided an improved basis for future population assessment and monitoring of this species.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The authors would like to acknowledge the support, access permissions and GIS datasets provided by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Coillte Teoranta. Dr. Aileen O’ Sullivan and other staff from Coillte provided assistance throughout the duration of this project, which was invaluable to its success. We gratefully acknowledge local landowners who provided access to private forestry, and National Parks and Wildlife Service staff (Enda Mullen, John Griffin, Frank McMahon, Sue Callaghan and James Kilroy) in the National Park study sites who carried out surveys and data collection for the report. Additionally, VWT would like to thank NPWS rangers John Higgins, David Lyons, Sinead Biggane, Emma Glanville, Brian Laheen, Penny Bartlett and volunteers Kate McAney, Athena Michaelides, Fionnuala Lyons and Paul Hanniffy. We would also like to thank the National Biodiversity Data Centre for providing data on the current distribution of pine marten in Ireland. Dr. Murray Efford provided important discussion and assistance with secr-based analyses. Proof reading was provided by Deacem Hamilton. This contract was awarded under competitive tender by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Ireland. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on this manuscript. Publisher Copyright: © 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
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Depositing User: Admin SSL
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 23:06
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2023 00:50

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