Habitat requirements of Eurasian pine marten Martes martes in a Mediterranean environment
Evaluating presence and habitat requirements of small carnivores is essential for their conservation. The Eurasian pine marten Martes martes, often described as a habitat specialist associated primarily with forest habitats, has been recently found to live even in patchily wooded country and in shrublands. We evaluated the environmental factors that determine the distribution of the pine marten in a Mediterranean landscape on the island of Sardinia (central Italy). Camera trapping sessions and scat surveys were carried out to assess the presence of the species, then a potential distribution model was developed using ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA), which requires only presence data. The pine marten selected highest altitudes, shrublands, rocky areas, and woodlands, and avoided urban areas and arable lands. Our results indicate that pine marten distribution in our study area is constrained by these variables. The ENFA analysis provided important clues about the distribution range of M. martes and its preferential environmental conditions, updating knowledge of its ecological requirements in Italy.
KeywordsMartes martes Habitat suitability model Ecological niche factor analysis Scat surveys Camera trapping
We would like to thank the province administration of Olbia-Tempio for funding this project, Alice Brambilla, Valentina Dagradi, Olivia Dondina, Nicola Floris, Alessandro Franzoi, Camille Imbert, Luca Nelli, and Ambra Repossi for their help during fieldwork, Roberto Serra and Claudio Altana (Ente Foreste della Regione Sardegna) for their help during camera trapping sessions, and Gianpasquale Chiatante for the statistical advice. The manuscript was greatly improved by suggestions from Sébastien Devillard and two anonymous reviewers.
All the experiments carried out during this research comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed (Italy).
Conflict of interest
All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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