Tag: effective forest size

Seeing the Forest for the Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels glide through the trees with the greatest of ease — but only if they have a big enough patch of forest.

These little squirrels – with flappy skin between their hands and feet that enables them to glide effortlessly from tree to tree – can’t scamper around much on the ground. They need a forest, and preferably a diverse one.

But just how much forest does a flying squirrel need?

That was the focus of research recently published in the journal Ecological Indicators by Nature Conservancy ecologist Colin Shanley.

The information he learned about these small mammals’ habitat needs provides more data to help better manage an Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Forest managers are transitioning from historically large-scale clearcutting to local, small-scale, sustainable harvest of primarily young-growth stands in previously harvested areas.

Figuring out what wildlife need to survive is an important part of the forest management program.

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