Technical Report

Fisher Research and the Kings River Sustainable Forest Ecosystems Project: Current Results and Future Efforts

The Kings River Sustainable Forest Ecosystems Project was initiated on the Kings River Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest, California, in 1993, with fieldwork beginning in 1994. Knowledge of the ecology of the fisher (Martes pennanti) in the Project area, and in the Sierra Nevada of California in general, is insufficient to develop empirically based management strategies or to respond to the challenge of sustaining viable local populations concurrent with projected human population growth in the Sierra. Using a combination of track-plate surveys, snowtrack searches, and live-trapping, we documented a reproducing population of fishers between 1,067 and 2,438 m in elevation within much of the Project area. Whether survivorship and reproductive rate are sufficient to maintain the population within the Project area is unknown. Given current viability concerns for fishers in the Sierra Nevada, it would be prudent that, concurrent with future research, management activities in the areas occupied by fishers that are outside the forest carnivore network also conserve or promote habitat elements used by fishers.