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Red Squirrels

Red squirrels are a critically endangered species. Only about 160,000 remain in the UK. Scotland is home to approximately 75% of the entire UK population. The decline in our native red squirrel can be attributed to the loss and fragmentation of suitable woodland habitat, reduction in habitat quality and perhaps most significantly, the spread of the introduced American grey squirrel.

The Problem

Grey squirrels were introduced into Britain from North America in 1876 and in only 132 years have replaced our native red squirrel across most of the UK. The cause of the reds demise is competition for food and habitat and a disease called Squirrelpox virus which is carried and spread by grey squirrels without harm to themselves but which is lethal to our reds. Grey squirrels also have an advantage over red squirrels in large seeded broadleaf and mixed woodland as they are able to digest acorns and other seeds before they are ripe and also gain more nutritional benefit from the seeds of broadleaved trees such as Oak and Beech. Greys are also known to raid red squirrel food caches. This competition and the high numbers of greys results in less food, weight loss and reduced breeding success for red squirrels.

The Solution

Red Squirrel Survival PacksThe situation in conifer and small seeded broadleaf forests is different. The larger grey finds it difficult to find enough food within forests where large-seed producing trees are sparse or absent. Due to this, red squirrel conservation in Scotland is focused particularly on large conifer forests which are relatively inhospitable to grey squirrels and so give our reds a fighting chance.

Cheviot Trees and The Red Squirrels in South Scotland project is pleased to support the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA), who have joined forces to promote and champion the cause of red squirrel conservation in Scotland.

Cheviot Trees have developed a planting pack of red squirrel friendly trees and shrubs. It is hoped that landowners wishing to utilise the new Scottish Rural Development Contracts and those merely wishing to plant an area of indigenous woodland will take advantage of this specially selected half hectare pack. The species mix contained in the pack have been specially chosen to benefit red squirrels and many other native British species. Cheviot Trees have kindly offered to donate £25 to the Red Squirrels in South Scotland project for every pack sold so your efforts will have an immediate positive effect.

Dont' hesitate to contact us for advice on species and planting. Tel 01289 386755

Red Squirrel Survival Pack Contents

Get a FREE Red Squirrel Survival Packs leaflet


The SRPBA Red Squirrel Initiative

The SRPBA are putting their weight behind the Red Squirrels in Scotland campaign to stop the displacement of our native red squirrels by non-native American greys and to help in stemming the threat of squirrelpox virus which is carried by greys but is fatal to reds.

The red squirrel is an increasingly rare sight around much of Scotland but, as an iconic species, we must do everything we can to protect it. Effectively that means controlling the grey squirrel population and the squirrelpox it carries.

Red Squirrels in South Scotland has over the last 8 years forged an extensive network of foresters, members of the public, local enthusiasts, agencies, communities, game keepers and land managers, all working together on red conservation projects and grey control across the south of Scotland.

Now the SRPBA has launched its own Red Squirrel Initiative which is a nationwide exercise to encourage landowners to join with their local squirrel groups or to act independently if they prefer. In the south of Scotland particularly, those who are not already involved can help in forming a control zone right across the country through which disease-carrying greys cannot pass.

This inevitably involves culling, but in tandem we are developing initiatives so that anywhere woodland is being planted, we can create habitat that is favourable to red squirrels but not to greys.

The majority of land owners and land managers are already predisposed - for a variety of reasons – to red squirrels, wild birds and the preservation of woodland and SRPBA members are urged to consider red squirrel friendly or squirrel neutral planting, which should be irregular and random and should include indigenous hardwoods, softwoods and under storey squirrel-neutral species. Tree types include rowan, ash, alder and whitebeam, and these will benefit many other species including birdlife and butterflies.

We are urging land managers to write the creation of red friendly habitat into their felling and woodland development plans. We have to do this now because it takes 25 years or more for coning to start in some tree species, so we do need to look well ahead.

Much can be done for red squirrel everywhere in Scotland; though habitat improvement, establishing natural food sources and the development of woodland corridors so that, with your help red squirrels can begin to re-colonise their former ranges.

These Red Squirrel Survival Packs are perfect for small areas of planting next to existing woodland. They are easy to order, come with a species mix and instruction leaflet and can be planted at almost any time of year. They are also able to attract grant aid through the SRDP. Cheviot Trees Cell Grown trees are hardy and the pack is specially chosen to be the perfect mix to help with the conservation of your red squirrel population.

It is hoped that SRPBA members across Scotland will work together with their local squirrel groups in a mutually beneficial partnership.

Text taken from the Red Squirrel Survival Packs leaflet produced in conjunction with Red Squirrels in South Scotland.

Cheviot Trees and Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA) have joined forces to promote and champion the cause of Red squirrel conservation in Scotland, and is supported by the Red Squirrel in South Scotland project.

We have developed a planting pack of red squirrel friendly trees and shrubs. It is hoped that landowners wishing to utilise the new Scottish Rural Development Contracts and those merely wishing to plant an area of indigenous woodland will take advantage of this specially selected half hectare pack. The species mix contained in the pack have been specially chosen to benefit red squirrels and many other native British species. Cheviot Trees have kindly offered to donate £25 to the Red Squirrels in South Scotland project for every pack sold so your efforts will have an immediate positive effect.

Red Squirrel Survival Pack Contents
Pack Price £228.00 + VAT, including delivery.
Contains 550 trees suitable for a ½ hectare planting at a normal mixed woodland density, and allowing some open space.
Species may be adjusted according to availability.
'Red Squirrel Friendly'
Trees good for red squirrels, even when grey squirrels are present
'Red Squirrel Neutral'
Trees good for improving general habitat without detriment to the red squirrel
Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
Larch (Larix spp)
Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Cherry (Prunus spp)
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Birch (Betula spp)
Field Maple (Acer campestre)
Lime (Tilia cordata)
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Whitebeam (Sorbus aria)
Willow (Salix spp)

Pack species can in certain circumstances be varied to suit specific locations or provenance requirements.

All trees are Cell Grown to assist best survival, easy planting and to provide a much extended planting season. They are suitable for stand alone plantings, and for complimentary planting alongside existing or new woodland.

Species are generally acceptable for all current Grant Schemes, should that be required, and have been chosen in line with Forestry Commission guidance on woodland diversification. The pack includes species which have direct value to Red squirrels and certain species which have general conservation value whilst not encouraging Grey squirrels.

Please note that plant protection (treeshelters and stakes) may be required to assist and ensure good establishment.

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