The Royal Forestry Society (RFS) is calling on the Government and Forestry Commission England to put control of grey squirrels on a similar level of importance to that of tree diseases. It is pressing for more research, effective support for woodland owners and managers, and for a programme to increase public awareness of the threat to the health of our broadleaved woods caused by grey squirrels.
Grey squirrel damage to the bark of pendunculate oak
The call by the RFS – the longest-established membership organisation for woodland owners and managers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – follows its online survey which asked woodland owners and managers to rate the danger of grey squirrels to woodlands, share their experiences of controlling grey squirrels and suggest what support they need.
The survey was completed by 750 people; 60% of survey participants were woodland owners and 40% managers, consultants or agents who clearly said: Grey squirrels represent the greatest threat to broadleaf woodlands, marginally ahead of tree diseases and well ahead of deer.