Assessing whether there is suitable habitat for pine martens
The feasibility study was a collaboration between Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Forestry England, 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 assessed whether there was suitable habitat for pine martens in the forest and whether a sustainable population could exist. It also investigated 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 was important to thoroughly assess their potential impacts on rare and protected species of conservation concern. Local communities were also fully consulted about living alongside pine martens. This exciting feasibility study took two years to complete and as a result, 18 pine martens have successfully been reintroduced into the Forest of
Dean. They have been fitted with tracking collars so that their activity can be closely monitored, our Forest Ranger, Gerry has been volunteering for the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to help with the radio tracking. There is hope that over the next two years more pine martens will be released into the Forest of Dean and that a population will establish there, so we look forward to providing more updates in the near future.