Adapted to a variety of forested habitats (Strickland et al. 1982). Prefer mature old-growth or dense spruce communities with well-established understory and ground cover to support prey (Buskirk 1983, Buskirk and MacDonald 1984, Clark et al. 1987, Flynn and Blundell 1992, Lensink et al. 1955, Schoen et al. 2007). Cover requirements for American martens include dense conifer or mixed forests with 40 to 60 percent canopy closure. They will avoid areas that are so dense that herbaceous cover is suppressed (Koehler et al. 1975). Dense understory, including slash or rotten logs and stumps, is necessary for denning and hiding (Spencer 1987). Mesic sites that support dense, succulent understory vegetation for American marten prey species are considered the best habitat (Koehler et al. 1975). American martens inhabit high elevation basins in spruce (Picea spp.)-subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) or mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) forests in the West. Mature lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stands that include spruce or subalpine fir will also support American marten. Although American martens are usually found at high elevations, they will use forests at lower elevations with high precipitation, such as cedar (Thuja spp.)-grand fir (Abies grandis, Koehler et al. 1975). May also use rocky alpine areas. Open areas adjacent to these forests will be used for hunting only if they provide adequate hiding cover and food. Uneven-aged stands are most beneficial because their vegetation is more diverse which leads to a greater food base (Koehler et al. 1975, Koehler and Hornocker 1977, Allen 1984).
Allen, A. W. 1984. Habitat suitability index models: marten. FWS/OBS-82/10.11 (Revised). Washington, DC: USDI, USFWS. 13 p.
Buskirk, S. 1983. The ecology of marten in southcentral Alaska. Unpublished dissertation, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Buskirk, S. W. and S. O. MacDonald. 1984. Seasonal food habits of marten in south-central Alaska. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62: 944-950.
Clark, T. W., E. Anderson, C. Douglas, and M. Strickland. 1987. Martes americana. Mammmalian Species 289: 1-8.
Flynn, R. W. and G. Blundell. 1992. Ecology of martens in southeast Alaska. ADF&G, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Research Progress Report. Project W-23-5, Study 7.16, December.
Koehler, G. M. and M. G. Hornocker. 1977. Fire effects on marten habitat in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Journal of Wildlife Management. 41(2): 500-505.
Koehler, G. M., W. R. Moore, and A. R. Taylor. 1975. Preserving the pine martin: management guidelines for western forests. Western Wildlands Summer 1975. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station. 6 p.
Lensink, C. J., R. O. Skoog, and J. L. Buckley. 1955. Food habits of marten in interior Alaska and their significance. Journal of Wildlife Management 19: 364-368.
Schoen, J. W., R. Flynn, and B. Clark. 2007. Marten (Martes americana). In The coastal forests and mountains ecoregion of southeastern Alaska and the Tongass National Forest: A conservation assessment and resource synthesis (J. W. Schoen and E. Dovichin, eds.). Audubon Alaska and The Nature Conservancy, Anchorage, Alaska.
Spencer, W. D. 1987. Seasonal rest-site preferences of pine martens in the northern Sierra Nevada. Journal of Wildlife Management. 51(3): 616-621.
Strickland, M. A., C. W. Douglas, M. Novak, and N. P. Hunziger. 1982. Marten (Martes americana). Pp. 599-612, in Wild mammals of North America (J. A. Chapman and G. A. Feildhamer, eds.). The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.