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Research Grants

2004 Research Grant Recipient - Lanna Campbell

Pine Marten protector
Analyzing dead and dying trees in Newfoundland’s only remaining old-growth forest wouldn’t be quite as engaging if it didn’t have the potential to save the pine marten.

Pine Marten (Photo: Art Wolfe/Photo Researchers)
Lanna Campbell, a geography and environmental studies student at New Brunswick’s Mount Allison University, is one of this year’s recipients of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s research grants. She studied forests in the Main River watershed, at the southern part of the northern peninsula, with the marten’s welfare in mind.

The Newfoundland pine marten (Martes americana atrata), a small weasel-like mammal, is considered a threatened species on the island. Although some fall prey to trappers, habitat loss from forestry is primarily to blame for its decline.

Last summer, Campbell analyzed cores from felled trees to determine their age and the time since their death. Martens survive in the area, feeding mostly on voles and mice, which tend to live in decaying trees.

“My research will tell us how long the structures on the forest floor have been there,” says Campbell, a component of the pine marten habitat that is often overlooked but critical to their survival.

Although she collected core samples and wood slices, Campbell hopes her data will help the province develop a method of visual analysis for estimating the age of a forest just by looking at its deadwood. This kind of system, used in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, would be a first for Newfoundland — and potentially help save the Newfoundland pine marten.

Jacques Krzepkowski

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