Royal Forestry Society study highlights significant damage to woodlands from grey squirrels

Grey squirrel
Grey squirrel

Woodland owners are turning away from broadleaved trees such as oak, beech and sweet chestnut because of grey squirrel damage expected to be exacerbated by the decline of ash.
 
RFS say the findings are "not consistent with the Government policy to put protection of the health of trees and woods at the top of its priorities."

It said: "Compared with tree diseases and deer management, there is very little research, grant aid or support of any practical kind for landowners to control grey squirrels unless in service of protecting red squirrel habitats."
 
The society added: "Grey squirrels are doing significant and widespread economic and environmental damage to woodlands with serious long term consequences to for their financial viability, landscape, and ecological value. Grant funding planting of broadleaves without committing to a robust long term grey squirrel control regime is not a good use of taxpayers’ money and is not in the public benefit."
 
"Chalara changes the debate on grey squirrel control. Without Ash as a mitigation against grey squirrel damage, woodland owners are turning away from vulnerable broadleaved species such as Oak, Beech and Sweet Chestnut, which are increasingly difficult and expensive to grow, and planting more conifers.

"Without a more supportive regime for grey squirrel control, there is a risk of a long term decline in production of hardwood timber in the UK."

Those surveyed used shooting, traps and poison to kill squirrels but said  "no single or combination of methods of grey squirrel control is considered very effective. The prospect that the EU will no longer permit use of Warfarin as bait simply makes an unsatisfactory situation worse."
 
They asked for increased public awareness and understanding of the threat to trees and woods
from grey squirrel damage and the need for controls. Also: 

  • Establishment of a research programme into more effective methods of grey squirrel control and increased understanding of the causes of grey squirrel bark stripping behaviour.
  • Provision of specific financial support to woodland owners for grey squirrel control
    particularly in high risk stands.
  • Support the establishment of grey squirrel control groups which coordinate action across woodland owners at a landscape scale

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Bespoke apprenticeships and internal training are helping firms to get ahead in skills-shortage horticulture, says Rachel Anderson.

Business planning - managing insurance

Business planning - managing insurance

Follow these steps to ensure adequate cover and the best deal when reviewing your insurance, Neville Stein advises.

Are tree suppliers seeing the benefit of the health message of trees?

Are tree suppliers seeing the benefit of the health message of trees?

The message that health, the environment and business all benefit from trees is finally getting through, but are nurseries seeing an upturn? Sally Drury reports.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

HORTICULTURE WEEK BUSINESS Awards 2019

The Horticulture Week Business Awards is now open for entries

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BUSINESS LEADs

Build your business with the latest public sector tenders covering landscape, arboriculture, grounds care, production and kit supplies. To receive the latest tenders weekly to your inbox sign up for our Tenders Tracker bulletin here.

HW Top UK Arboriculture Businesses

See our exclusive RANKING of arboriculture businesses by annual turnover. 

HORTICULTURE WEEK Custodian Awards

Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources