Mammal damage to trees and woodland

Montage: roe deer, rabbit and grey squirrelSummary

Damage by some woodland mammals can have a significant impact on trees of all ages and on the wider woodland ecosystems by:

  • Preventing tree establishment, healthy growth or good timber quality
  • Preventing the development of a structurally diverse shrub layer
  • Reducing the abundance of palatable plants such as bramble, bluebell, dog’s mercury and honeysuckle
  • Increasing the abundance of grasses and unpalatable species such as bracken, rushes and ragwort


Resources for research are limited and this project is now closed. We will continue to provide advice on best practice and methods of tree protection.

Funders and partners

Forestry Commission logo
This research is funded by the Forestry Commission Vertebrate management programme.

Forestry Commission policy

Prevention of mammal damage to enhance establishment, regeneration and woodland biodiversity is acknowledged in the Forestry Strategies for:


Mark Ferryman