Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1964


As a nation we have gained world recognition for our ability to utilize our resources. In forestry our greatest accomplishments have been in the mechanization of harvest methods and in improvements in forest products. The renewal of this resource has been our greatest neglect. Though the end of the 19th Century marked the beginning of the conservation movement, it was not until a half century later that the force of economics through the demands of a growing population made forest re-establishment more than just a desire. Conservation in itself is a Utopian concept which requires other motivating forces to make it a reality. In the post-war years, and as late as the early 195O's, stocked land in the Pacific Northwest could be purchased for less than the cost of planting; the economic incentive was lacking. Only with sustained yield management and increased land values was there a balance in favor of true values. With greater effort placed on forest regeneration there was an increased need for methods of reducing losses to wildlife. The history of forest wildlife damage research, therefore, parallels that of forest land management; after rather austere beginnings, development became predominantly a response to economics. It was not until 1950 that the full time of one scientist was assigned to this important activity. The development of control methods for forest animal damage is a relatively new area of research. All animal life is dependent upon plants for its existence; forest wildlife is no exception. The removal of seed and foliage of undesirable plants often benefits the land managers; only when the losses or injuries are in conflict with man's interest is there damage involved. Unfortunately, the feeding activities of wildlife and the interests of the land managers are often in conflict. Few realize the breadth, scope, and subtilities associated with forest wildlife damage problems. There are not only numerous species of animals involved, but also a myriad of conditions, each combination possessing unique facets. It is a foregone conclusion that an understanding of the conditions is essential to facilitate a solution to any given problem. Though there are numerous methods of reducing animal damage, all of which have application under some situations, in this discussion emphasis will be placed on the role of chemicals and on western problems. Because of the broadness and complexity of the problem, generalizing is necessary and only brief coverage will be possible. However, an attempt will be made to discuss the use and limitations of various control methods.