Martens, especially the sable and fisher, have been highly valued for their fur resultinig in a high degree of hunting and trapping pressure on marten populations. This pressure, in combination with the destruction of the conifer and conifer-hardwood forests preferred by these species, has led to a decline in some populations.
Martes zibellina are found in the forests of northern Asia and highly valued for its fine fur. The common name is sometimes also applied to related European and Asian species and to the American marten.
Until the 19th Century, pine martens were found throughout much of mainland Britain, the Isle of Wight and some of the Scottish islands. Habitat fragmentation, persecution by gamekeepers and martens being killed for their fur, drastically reduced this distribution. By 1926, the main pine marten population in Britain was restricted to a small area of north-west Scotland. Martens are now increasing their range in Scotland, but it is not known whether their populations in England and Wales are expanding, or even if they still exist. Prime habitats for pine martens seem to be well wooded areas, with high densities of voles that are their principal prey. Female pine martens with young are extremely sensitive to human disturbance, which can cause a female to move her young from a den or even eat them.
There is one species of Martes that is consodered as "Endangered"; two are considered as "Vulnerable" and one as "Data Deficient" by the IUCN Red List.