The American Marten Returns to Wisconsin’s Pine Forests
by Lucy Ji, age 15
Gone missing for the better part of a century, the American marten has finally returned to Wisconsin. The critters are back in the state’s remote northern forests.
At one time the marten thrived in the deep woodlands in the northern part of the state. But, by the 1920s, most of the mature pine trees were destroyed by the lumber and sawmill industries.
A recent article by Ron Seely in the Wisconsin State Journal explains why the return of the American marten signals that the forests of Wisconsin are flourishing.
According to Jim Woodford, a conservation biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources, “the marten is perhaps one of the best indicators that Wisconsin’s northern forests are healthy.” In other words, it is known as an “umbrella species.” When the environment is improved to help martens, it also provides a protective shield that allows other species to prosper.
Conservation scientists estimate there are only about 260 martens in Wisconsin. To protect this tenacious and secretive mammal, the state’s Natural Resources Board recently established a “management plan.” The plan will result in more research on the marten and strategies to keep them healthy and safe.
“We think Wisconsin needs the American marten,” says Woodford.
The American marten is also known as the pine marten, or American pine marten.
[Source: Wisconsin State Journal]