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I write in response to Craig Shuttleworth and colleagues (VR, 23 March 2019, vol 184, p 389).
Grey squirrels are accused of causing significant timber loss and harming the ecosystem. It is indisputable that squirrels of any colour feed on trees. However, this is cosmetic only, it does not kill the tree except in the unusual circumstance where the squirrels create a ‘collar’ of stripped bark around the main trunk.
Squirrels are essential for natural forest regeneration by caching seeds and nuts and leaving a proportion of them to grow into new trees. The Forestry Commission estimates that up to 5 per cent of trees damaged by squirrels may …
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