This is the final report for the background and development phase of a long-term study mandated by the Okanagan Shuswap LRMP Table in its Final Recommendations Document (October 2000). It presents the results of a detailed literature review, a series of questionnaire surveys directed to government and industry resource managers and trappers, and some analyses relating habitat features to the distribution of 11,500 martens harvested in the Okanagan Shuswap LRMP area since 1985. The literature review demonstrated an increasing interest and research focus on marten/habitat relationships since the early 1980s, particularly as related to forestry. However, much of the research has been done in areas where habitat conditions are poor and/or marten populations are depressed, and mostly in locations with ecological features and administrative processes that differ significantly from those in the LRMP study area. Further, none have been undertaken in, or have taken advantage of, the relatively controlled management environment of the Registered Trapline System. The most important point emerging from recent research relating to biodiversity conservation is that management to hasten the return of old growth conditions will likely be more important than establishment of old growth reserves in the long term. The questionnaire results indicate that most habitat management applicable to marten in British Columbia is applied at the stand level, with results that are unclear to most respondents and at levels of compliance that vary depending upon a variety of circumstances. The predominant perception among trappers is that local marten populations are declining as a result of timber-harvest related effects on habitat. The perception among industry managers is that they are doing the best they can with information that has been provided, and the perception of government managers is that more information on specific marten habitat needs and forestry relationships is needed. The LRMP area supports a great diversity of ecosystems and habitats, and martens occur widely and are regularly harvested by trappers throughout the area. However, it is evident that the ICH and ESSF forests in the north-eastern third of the study area are the most productive for martens, producing over 85 % of the harvest in the past 18 years. The MS Zone is apparently less productive, at least in its present condition, but may be the focus of the highest conservation concern for the marten in the study area. As in other areas, these studies indicated positive relationships between marten numbers and both mesic and older forests. The overall intent for this project is to foster a cooperative relationship among trappers, managers, and industry, with a view to finding marten habitat management solutions or compromises that are, to the extent possible, practical and acceptable for all. In practice, the need is for an innovative team approach, involving a steering committee of stakeholders charged with determining and assessing project components and direction. A contribution to the information that such a committee may wish to consider is provided, in the form of an identification and description of some candidate study areas, a discussion of habitat management issues and prospects, and a preliminary list of specific study components and methods.
Hatler, David Francis, Adams, Ian; Beal, Alison M.M.. 2004. Providing for marten in managed forests in the Okanagan Shuswap LRMP area phase 2: background and development. Forest Investment Account. Forest Investment Account Report