Assessing whether there is suitable habitat for pine martens
The feasibility study is a collaboration between Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Forestry Commission, and the Vincent Wildlife Trust. Forest Holidays is the first key sponsor of the project and is keen to contribute to the survival of this iconic woodland species. The feasibility study will assess whether there is suitable habitat for pine martens in the forest and whether a sustainable population can exist.
It will also investigate the impact pine martens may have on the local ecology of the area; the reintroduction of a native predator can have extremely positive effects on an ecosystem, helping re-establish balance. In particular, pine martens are potentially the perfect ally in the fight to reduce grey squirrel populations, which damage trees and threaten red squirrels.
All native species within the forest evolved alongside pine martens, however, it is important to thoroughly assess their potential impacts on rare and protected species of conservation concern.
The project will also fully consult with local communities about living alongside pine martens. There are opportunities, such as the chance to see such a charismatic mammal on your bird feeder. However there are also potential costs, such as whether fox-proof chicken enclosures will need to be further improved against pine martens. This exciting feasibility study will take two years to complete and we will keep you up to date on all the developments.
Read more about the work Forest Holidays does to support local communities here.