Tree Felling

Red Squirrels and Forestry Operations

To help protect the red squirrel, all forestry operations within the mid Wales red squirrel focal area must be part of a clearly defined strategy to conserve red squirrels.

There is no mechanism for licensing forestry operations where they may cause damage or disturbance to red squirrels. To avoid an offence, forestry contractors need to be able to show that they took reasonable precautions to avoid causing damage or disturbance, and that if it still occurred they took practical steps to minimise or prevent further damage or disturbance.

It is essential that contractors carrying out forestry operations in the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Focal Area look out for red squirrels when they are undertaking operations.

Where red squirrels are present, tree felling should not be carried out from February through to early October whilst red squirrel young are in nests.

If you are intending to carry out work involving the removal or disturbance of trees in a red squirrel area, you must take red squirrels into account in your plans.

If you do not, this may delay your work if you need to get permission from a Licensing Authority or Local Authority.

Forest connectivity needs to be maintained between key feeding areas throughout felling cycles to enable movement of red squirrels.

Forestry Operations

Forestry Operations by Tom Marshall

Red Squirrel in Tree

Red Squirrel in Tree by Jon Hawkins

Tree thinning can actually benefit red squirrels if it is carried out carefully. Modest thinning operations can produce individual trees with broader crowns which yield larger seed crops, whereas heavy thinning can fragment the canopy to such an extent that red squirrels find it difficult to move from tree to tree and so may not use the area.

For more details on forest management for red squirrels, go to the habitat management page.