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Red Tree Voles



Red tree voles are generally associated with older forests and complex canopy structures, but new research in the northern coastal region of Oregon is helping us better understand how red tree voles are using and nesting in younger forests, and how these forests are contributing to the habitat they need to survive. The information will improve habitat and species conservation and management decision-making.

Traditionally, red tree voles have been most often found in Douglas fir stands that are more than 80 years old, and especially in stands that are more than 200 years old. They feed almost exclusively on Douglas fir needles.

Preliminary Research

Researchers have been surveying forest stands adjacent to older stands, and placed cameras above some nests to collect additional information. They regularly found red tree vole nests in younger forests, including 20- to 40-year-old managed forests within 1.4 kilometers of older forest (80+ years old).

What’s Next?

A more comprehensive look at how young forests provide habitat for red tree voles is needed to add breadth and depth to our understanding of forest age and red tree vole habitat. It’s clear individual young forest stands are providing habitat, but it is not clear if this is sustained for multiple generations or if connectivity is facilitated among patches of older forest. While the original project is complete, additional funding made possible through the WCI is supporting a demographics study, which began in 2023.

Conservation Success Starts with Keeping Forests Intact

We all have a hand in ensuring conservation of wildlife. When we purchase wood and forest products, we support the sustainable cycle of growing, harvesting and replanting that keeps our forests as forests. Thousands of species call working forests home, and many species thrive in actively managed working forests.