Kings River Fisher Project

Fishers are known to have large home ranges for their body size and are commonly associated with features of older trees and forests. These patterns can vary across geographic areas due to factors such as prey type/availability, forest composition/management history, climatic patterns, and presence of competitors/predators. Thus, to provide accurate information for forest management, it is important to quantify the size and composition of home ranges and core areas at regional and local scales when possible. This is especially true at the southernmost extent of the fisher distribution in the southern Sierra Nevada, where fishers are federally endangered and conditions differ from areas where fishers occur further north and east. The southern Sierra has also experienced unprecedented drought, tree mortality, and wildfire activity in recent years.

We found fishers frequently used areas of live forest and areas affected by tree mortality while selecting against warmer areas, areas further from streams, and areas along ridges. Following a period of wide-spread tree mortality, fishers started strongly avoiding non-forested areas. Variation in individual-level fisher selection was greatest during drought and tree mortality periods. A manuscript for this project is in preparation.