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Efficacy of Individual Barriers to Prevent Damage to Douglas-Fir Seedlings by Captive Mountain Beavers

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We tested the ability of individual tree seedling protectors to deter mountain beavers from damaging Douglas-fir seedlings. Using captive mountain beavers in field pens, we tested 20 products representative of a wide range of barriers suitable for protecting individual tree seedlings from rodent damage. Eleven products protected 95% or more of seedlings from damage. Tree shelters and fabric shelters provided the most protection; 98 and 95% of seedlings were undamaged, respectively. Rigid mesh protector tubes protected 81% of seedlings, and protection netting protected 55% of seedlings. Purchase prices varied widely; protection netting was least expensive, followed by rigid mesh tubes, fabric shelters, and tree shelters. Seedling growth was greatest within fabric shelters and plastic tree shelters. Materials used to construct 15 of the 20 tree protectors were tested using captive mountain beavers in small sheltered pens. Here, samples of barrier materials were used to block access to a favored food. The four materials that excluded all test animals in all trials were from unvented tree shelters with solid seamless walls. Seven materials failed to exclude any animals in the sheltered-pen trials.
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Keywords: Aplodontia rufa; Douglas-fir; Pseudotsuga menziesii; mountain beaver; tree shelters

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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