THE INFLUENCE OF FOREST CONDITIONS ON THE SURVIVAL AND REPRODUCTION OF FEMALE FISHERS.
Sean M. Matthews; Oregon State University; 234 Strand Agriculture Hall, Corvallis, OR, 97331; (530) 351-2418; sean.matthews@oregonstate.edu; David S. Green, J. Mark Higley
Conservation planning relies on a strong understanding of the habitat suitability for at-risk species. This is often accomplished by assuming habitat-use patterns indicate habitat quality. Recent critiques have challenged this assumption and advocated for more direct evidence for how changes in habitat correspond to numerical changes in wildlife populations. The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is a mid-sized, mature-forest-obligate in the family Mustelidae and proposed for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. It is suspected that forest management threatens fisher populations in the Pacific states by means of losses of mature forests, habitat fragmentation, and changes in forest composition and structure. Habitat models available for fisher, however, are based solely on surrogate habitat-use patterns and not direct demographic parameters. We evaluated the influence of annual forest conditions at the scale of individual home ranges on the survival and reproductive patterns of female fishers on the Hoopa Indian Valley Reservation. We radio-marked 85 female fishers between 2004 and 2016 and monitored their survival and reproduction. Preliminary results suggest the density of drivable roads and habitat with sparse to no forest canopy negatively influenced fisher survival. Our results will offer guidance for forest conditions that support fisher survival and reproductive success.
Ecology and Conservation of Martens and Fishers