Rodent-caused damage to forest trees from the viewpoint of forestry practice
J. Kamler, K. Turek, M. Homolka, E. Bukorhttps://doi.org/10.17221/70/2009-JFSCitation:Kamler J., Turek K., Homolka M., Bukor E. (2010): Rodent-caused damage to forest trees from the viewpoint of forestry practice. J. For. Sci., 56: 265-270.
Small mammals cause serious damage to forests but there is only little knowledge of their ecology and possibilities of plantation protection. The objective of our study was to collect information on the damage caused by rodents to plantations of forest tree species. Data were obtained from a survey conducted in 2008 that was aimed at damage caused by small mammals. Questionnaires were sent mostly to foresters engaged in the Lesy CR state enterprise. We obtained usable data from 316 foresters. The response rate was 81%. It was confirmed that rodents cause significant damage all over the Czech Republic and that the occurrence of damage cannot be easily predicted with certainty as significant damage may appear perhaps in a small part of the threatened plantations where the key conditions for small mammals have been fulfilled. The main factors which affected probability of damage include: presence of a woody species attractive to rodents; suitable structure of ground vegetation enabling the pest species to breed sufficiently during the vegetation period; and also long-lasting snow cover. The current approach of forestry practice to damage by small mammals is considerably passive and we are missing an alert system of threat to stands and a methodology of dealing with problematic situations. Most of the foresters are uninterested in small mammals and many have only very smattering knowledge of the dangerousness of individual species and their ecological requirements. The use of rodenticides is expensive and the most effective and economic measure to lower damage by small mammals is to support forest management favouring natural regeneration of forest stands.Keywords:
bank vole; bark damage; field vole; forest damage