Population and Habitat Status
Confirmed observations of lynx in Maine between 1999 and 2008 (update available soon).
- Lynx are found primarily in Alaska and Canada, where snow is deep, and spruce/fir forest are common
- Maine is at the southern edge of lynx range, thus lynx are less secure
- Lynx are found in the spruce/fir forests of northern and western Maine where snow is deep most of the winter
- In Maine, lynx numbers have fluctuated with the forest conditions that support snowshoe hare
- The abundance of young dense spruce/fir forest from extensive clearcutting of diseased spruce/fir trees 30 years ago led to high hare numbers.
- Lynx populations began to increase and reached a record high in 2006
- We estimated between 600 and 1,200 adult lynx in northern and western Maine spruce/fir forest.
- These regenerating spruce/fir clearcuts are growing into older forested stands
- There isn’t sufficient younger forest to immediately replace current lynx habitat
- Although there will be less young s/f forest in the future, it may be sufficient for lynx to persist.
- The USFWS, the University of Maine, and MDIFW are working together to determine what types and how much habitat is needed to support lynx in Maine.
Predicted distribution of spruce/fir sapling forest in Maine
(source Maine Forest Service).
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