Can lynx, marten and logging all get along in the same woods?
That’s the question The Nature Conservancy and partners at the University of Maine are trying to answer in a 40-mile stretch of woods along Maine’s St. John River.
The challenge lies in the different habitat needs of each animal:
- Martens like to cruise through the treetops and therefore need the latticework of tree cover that large tracts of older forest create.
- Lynx, on the other hand, prefer younger, denser stands of new growth where they can stalk their prey.
But it’s not just about the lynx and marten. Managing for these two “umbrella species” would meet the needs of 85 percent of other vertebrates in the forest.
So how to manage the forest for timber and keep both the lynx and marten — and everyone else — happy?
To help solve the puzzle, researchers in the St. John River forest are using satellite imagery, aerial photography and land-use data to create a better picture of how these animals use the forest — and how logging practices impact their use.
“It once seemed impossible to meet the very different needs of these two species while maintaining sustainable forestry, but that’s exactly what these maps and models are helping us do,” says Bill Patterson, director of the Conservancy’s Northern Maine program.
(Image: Lynx. Source: Angela Fuller.)