The State Forest Management Centre located 99 flying squirrel trees during monitoring 03.06
During the annual spring monitoring, the State Forest Management Centre’s staff found 99 flying squirrel trees, four new flying squirrel territories and identified the repopulation of one territory and the expansion of another. New signs of activity were found in Viru County and Jõgeva County state forests.„We found 99 flying squirrel trees during our search period, as well as droppings which pointed to the existence of a rare species,” said Margus Pensa, Species Conservation Specialist at the State Forest Management Centre’s Nature Protection Department.
Flying squirrel droppings. Photo: Margus Pensa
The State Forest Management Centre instantly allocates places where flying squirrels have been found into the protected forest category, meaning that those areas will not be managed as they are the most strictly protected. Once the Environmental Board’s specialists review the findings and determine the borders of the site, strict protection will apply throughout it.
Overall, the State Forest Management Centre’s employees surveyed 840 hectares of suitable habitats for flying squirrels this year, covering 212 kilometres. The areas inspected included both habitats that were already part of the flying squirrel’s distribution grid as well as forests that might be suitable habitats for them.
The State Forest Management Centre’s employees started the annual flying squirrel monitoring in 2013, when they started planning the flying squirrel’s distribution grid. The State Forest Management Centre along with its distribution grid will ensure that the corridors created between the habitats of flying squirrels are maintained. “Distribution grid corridors between known habitats mean that we guarantee a forest with suitable heights for the flying squirrel – the flying squirrel needs that to travel between habitats,” Margus Pensa explained.
Pensa said that the corridor must contain at least 12-metre tall deciduous trees or 15-metre tall coniferous trees. In Finland, the minimum height is 10 metres according to Pensa.
The forest situated in the corridors is not strictly protected unlike the flying squirrels’ habitat, but the corridors are maintained and landscaped during forest management operations.
The State Forest Management Centre’s monitoring in state forests is one part of the national monitoring of flying squirrels, coordinated by the Environmental Board. The State Forest Management Centre is the biggest nature conservation operator in Estonia.
Species Conservation Specialist at the State Forest Management Centre’s Nature Protection Department