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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Increasing pocket gopher problems in reforestation

  • Author(s): Capp, John C.
  • et al.

Concern over pocket gopher damage to conifer seedlings is increasing rapidly in the northwestern United States. The evolution of the pocket gopher (Thomomys spp.) has resulted in an animal that occurs throughout northwest forested areas and responds to site disturbances by increasing numbers and distribution. Pocket gophers kill or slow growth of conifer seedlings. More extensive logging, wildfires, and insect epidemics are resulting in more damage problem areas. This will continue. Current damage control is judged poor. Juvenile dispersal, high natural mortality rate, need for intensive treatment on entire damaged areas, current dependency on pesticides for control, increasing wood product values, and decreasing tolerance for reforestation delays are causing this increased concern. Integrated control appears necessary for the future.

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