Date of this Version
Proceedings 18th Vertebrate Pest Conference, ed. R.O. Baker & A.C. Crabb. Published at University of California, Davis, 1998.
The red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) feeds on the vascular tissues of sapling lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) during spring periods in forests of interior British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. This damage may lead to mortality and reduced growth of crop trees in managed stands. Manipulation of stand density by pre-commercial thinning to densities < 1,000 stems/ha is an effective method to lower squirrel populations and feeding damage. Lowering stand density enhances the growth of crop trees, and understory herbs and shrubs as wildlife habitat, while protecting trees from squirrel feeding. This approach has been successful in several forest ecological zones. An alternative management tool is provision of diversionary food (sunflower seed) for those stands susceptible to feeding damage, and where stand thinning has already been completed. Diversionary food can be applied aerially and is very cost effective for protecting managed stands. These techniques may be used to maintain or even enhance species diversity of small mammal communities in those forest stands requiring protection.