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RFS Position Statement on Grey Squirrels
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The RFS membership has identified grey squirrel damage as the greatest current threat to woodlands.

Grey squirrels cause damage to young woodlands, mainly broadleaf, and primarily to trees aged 10-40 years through bark stripping and ringing. This can kill trees or severely damage growth. This has an impact both for growers of timber and for biodiversity, habitats and the environment in woodlands.

The RFS is calling for more research into understanding grey squirrel behaviour and populations so that woodland owners can be helped to grow resilient and sustainable woodlands for future generations.

We believe that regional approaches are required. We are an active member of the Squirrel Accord which is encouraging collaboration between landowners and managers both for red squirrel conservation and for woodland protection.

We believe there should be better support for woodland owners in the sharing of best practice on effective control methods, and increased research into tree species and age mixes which might prove less appealing to grey squirrels. We also believe there should be greater financial incentives through woodland grant schemes to manage woodlands. Better managed woodlands are a benefit to local communities, the economy and the environment.

We are looking for targeted and sustained controls where woodlands are vulnerable.The RFS is not seeking grey squirrel controls in areas where they are not a threat to woodlands.

Details of the RFS survey of its members on grey squirrel can be found at http://www.rfs.org.uk/news/hot-topics/grey-squirrel-damage/