Fisher research in Northern Minnesota - Ryan Pennesi Photography

A typical mature mixed conifer cover type seen in fisher habitat

A typical mature mixed conifer cover type seen in fisher habitat

According to the Minnesota DNR, the fisher population in Northeast Minnesota has declined by roughly 50%  in the last 20 years. The Natural Resource Research Institute,  a branch of the University of Minnesota, is leading the efforts to better understand how to help fishers rebound. A limiting factor may be the lack of large diameter trees on the landscape (a product largely of past forestry practices) which are necessary for these cavity denning weasels. Fishers will use tree cavities for protection while resting and females will raise their young there. The installation of artificial nest boxes are meant to mimic and supplement natural tree cavities. Each box is made of plywood and contains wood shavings inside for bedding and insulation. Temperature loggers both inside and outside the den boxes will gather valuable data that will be compared with natural sites. A glue strip drilled into the ceiling of the box opening will collect hair samples for DNA analysis. Cameras will monitor the stations for use year round, but especially during the breeding season. This study is only in it's second year, but there has been some encouraging results. Research is critical and will inform future forest management agencies at the county, state, and federal levels.                   

An American marten at a carnivore monitoring station

An American marten at a carnivore monitoring station

A fisher at a carnivore monitoring station

A fisher at a carnivore monitoring station

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