People & Pine Martens in Wales
The Trust has recently embarked on a new project, generously funded by The Co-operative, to help progress its long-running pine marten conservation work in Wales. The People and Pine Martens in Wales project will develop understanding of the status and distribution of the pine marten, improve habitat and inform future conservation plans for the species in Wales. See the project page for more details.
Pine Marten Distribution in Scotland
In 2012, the Trust, in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage, conducted a pine marten Expansion Zone Survey in Scotland. The Trust undertook two previous systematic pine marten distribution surveys in Scotland in 1980-1982 and 1994. The aim of the 2012 survey was to provide up-to-date distribution data on the pine marten in Scotland and establish where the species range had expanded to, following on from the previous surveys. The results are published in a report available to download from Scottish Natural Heritage's website.
Prospects for Pine Martens Project
In 2009-2011, the Trust completed a Prospects for Pine Martens project, employing a dedicated Pine Marten Project Manager to investigate the distribution and status of pine martens in England and Wales. Some of the highlights of the project include:
- over 1000 scats collected for DNA analysis, 80 hair-tubes monitored and several camera traps deployed to obtain pine marten evidence;
- 140 den boxes are now set up over England and Wales, providing resting and breeding sites for pine martens;
- research undertaken to explore pine marten genetics has given us an insight into the origins and maintenance of pine marten populations. This research was published in a paper in Conservation Genetics journal;
- 43 broadcast and print media features resulting in increased public awareness of pine martens;
- 240 volunteers helped with scat and hair-tube surveys.
The Pine Marten Scat Project
During 2008-2009, the Trust completed a two-year pine marten scat survey of England and Wales. The aims of the survey were to test the efficacy of scat surveys as a methodology for conducting pine marten surveys and to build on sightings reports to continue confirming the distribution of pine martens in England and Wales.
20 sites in England and Wales, selected as they had the highest number of recent high quality pine marten sightings, were surveyed for scats, with the help of over 200 volunteers. All possible pine marten scats were DNA tested at Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland. DNA typing of marten scats is essential because marten scats are notoriously difficult to identify morphologically.
Scat surveys have proved to be a valuable method in surveying for pine martens and are likely to be a widely-used technique in our continuing work detecting the presence of pine martens in Britain.
We have developed a long-term pine marten conservation strategy (available to download here), which highlights priority areas for research in England and Wales. These include determining factors limiting the survival and recovery of marten populations; developing effective monitoring methodologies; promoting targeted creation and expansion of woodland and continued assessment of distribution, status and marten behaviour in England and Wales. We will be working with a variety of statutory and voluntary conservation organisations to implement this strategy. The outcome of these priority actions will provide the basis for future plans for pine marten conservation in the UK.