U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

Winter 2011


TAYLOR, J. 2011. Identifying and managing for wildlife damage during stand initiation. Northwest Woodlands Winter 2011:16-17, 29.


Trees in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) are susceptible to wildlife damage throughout their life cycles, and many industrial and nonindustrial forest landowners spend a good deal of money attempting to prevent or lessen this damage. Several species of animals affect forest regeneration and their damage can generally be broken into categories based on when damage occurs. During stand initiation, damage is seen with seeds, seedlings, and saplings. While some animals may cause damage only at one particular time, others damage trees at various intervals and in different ways. Methods of lethal and non-lethal control to reduce wildlife damage have been around for a long time and can be placed into five general categories: physical barriers, repellents, toxicants, hunting/trapping, and habitat manipulation. Unfortunately, there is no single tool or technique that works for all species in all situations, thus management can be complex and may require multiple techniques. Furthermore, some tools that appear to work may do so for only a short period of time.

Despite landowners' best attempts to manage for their own values and objectives, they are potentially at risk from things outside their control, such as when adjacent landowners have very different objectives (e.g., a small tree farm adjacent to a large national park). Correctly identifying the source of damage, understanding the biology of the offending species, and knowing the pros and cons of management tools will help develop effective integrated management plans aimed to reduce damage affecting forest regeneration.