Acta Theriologica

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 165–172 | Cite as

Estimation of population density of European pine marten in central Italy using camera trapping

  • Emiliano ManzoEmail author
  • Paola Bartolommei
  • J. Marcus Rowcliffe
  • Roberto Cozzolino
Original Paper


Evaluating presence and abundance of small carnivores is essential for their conservation. In Italy, there is scarce information on European pine marten distribution, and no data are published on its abundance. Camera traps have been widely used to estimate population density applying capture–recapture models for species in which individual recognition is possible. Here we estimate the abundance of European pine martens in central Italy using camera trapping and a model that allows the estimation of population density without the need for individual recognition Rowcliffe et al. (Anim Conserv 11:185–186, 2008). Camera trapping was also used to evaluate habitat use patterns by martens. Fifteen camera traps were deployed in 90 placements for 15 days each, for a total of 1,334 camera days. Pine martens were captured in 24% of camera trap placements with a mean trap success rate of 0.33 photographs per camera placement. Estimated pine marten population density in the study area was 0.34 individuals km−2. Marten trap rate was not strongly associated with any habitat type, although there were trends towards lower probability of records at locations with high coverage of cultivated fields and higher probability of records at locations with high coverage of human-made woodland. The results suggest that pine martens in this area are not confined to wooded habitat. To our knowledge, this study is the first application of the Rowcliffe et al. (Anim Conserv 11:185–186, 2008) method to a wild carnivore population and, furthermore, the first estimation of population density of pine martens in Italy.


Abundance estimation Camera traps Density estimation Martes martes Habitat use 



This work was founded by Ethoikos Srl. We would like to thank Melissa Messinese and Silvia Cafariello for the help during fieldwork, Alessandro Giuliani for the statistical advice and Alessandro Belli for the technical support. We thank the Corpo Forestale dello Stato and the Unione dei Comuni della Val di Merse for granting us permission to work in La Selva Forest. Special thanks are due to Cataldo D'Andria for his enthusiastic support.


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emiliano Manzo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paola Bartolommei
    • 1
  • J. Marcus Rowcliffe
    • 2
  • Roberto Cozzolino
    • 1
  1. 1.Ethoikos, Convento dell’OsservanzaRadicondoliItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of LondonLondonUK

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