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The management of mammal pests in farm woodlands - WD0108

The work is in support of the grant aided Farm Woodland Premium Scheme. The objectives of the scheme are for the planting of trees and enhancement of the landscape for the public good, within a viable farming system. Mammels are an important pest of new woodlands, causing death of young stock and bark stripping damages the timber quality of older trees. Rabbit populations can quickly build up if the conditions are favourable and damage surrounding crops. Landowners are then potentially in contravention of the Pests Act (1954) and Agriculture Act (1986). A third of initial planting costs are a result of a need to protect trees from rabbits. Damage by voles can also be unacceptably high, especially where soil cracks render guards ineffective . Hares and deer - especially the larger species - can also cause significant losses. This research will also be relevant to the problems of establishing the new national forests. Most work by the FC on mammals has related to conifers on poor soils and in second generation plantations. Cooperation with their R and D arm has been good for many years and continues within this work area, so we are well informed about their published and unpublished work. The generally higher rabbit populations on farmland have been targeted by CSL alone. CSL scientists hold regular meetings with representatives of groups working on rabbits worldwide and this is used to help plan the research.
To identify the relative natural unpalatability of broadleaved tree provenance or clonal material to mammals such as rabbits, voles and deer, and to improve unpalatability characteristics, so that more suitable planting stock can be provided for areas at risk. To evaluate and enhance fencing, tree guards and repellents for the protection of young trees to prevent damage by mammal pests such as voles and rabbits. To reduce herbicide inputs by management strategies, includ ing mulch mats, whilst also lowering the potential for damage by voles. To assess the useage of FW(P)S plantings and damage caused by fallow deer and contribute to plans to develop management options.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1994

To: 1997

Cost: £574,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
ADAS UK Ltd., Central Science Laboratory
Fields of Study
Farm Woodlands