Damage to the wood of forest species caused by the debarking of Pallas´s squirrel introduced into Argentina

  • Paula A. PEDREIRA Universidad Nacional de Luján (UNLu), Grupo Ecología de Mamíferos Introducidos (EMI), Instituto de Ecología y Desarrollo Sustentable (INEDES) UNLu-CONICET, Dept. de Ciencias Básicas. Ruta 5 y 7, 6700 Luján (Bs. As.), Argentina https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1862-3359
  • Eduardo A. PENON Universidad Nacional de Luján (UNLu), Grupo Ecología de Mamíferos Introducidos (EMI), Instituto de Ecología y Desarrollo Sustentable (INEDES) UNLu-CONICET, Dept. de Tecnología. Ruta 5 y 7, 6700 Luján (Bs. As.), Argentina https://orcid.org/0009-0008-2582-4926
  • A. Cecilia GOZZI Universidad Nacional de Luján (UNLu), Grupo Ecología de Mamíferos Introducidos (EMI), Instituto de Ecología y Desarrollo Sustentable (INEDES) UNLu-CONICET, Dept. de Ciencias Básicas. Ruta 5 y 7, 6700 Luján (Bs. As.), Argentina https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6309-9544
  • Nicolás PENON-SOBERO Universidad de Morón, Escuela Superior de Ciencias del Comportamiento y Humanidades. Cabildo 134, 1708 Morón (Bs. As.), Argentina https://orcid.org/0009-0007-2984-2841
  • Mariela BORGNIA Universidad Nacional de Luján (UNLu), Grupo Ecología de Mamíferos Introducidos (EMI), Instituto de Ecología y Desarrollo Sustentable (INEDES) UNLu-CONICET, Dept. de Ciencias Básicas. Ruta 5 y 7, 6700 Luján (Bs. As.), Argentina https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7771-2039
Keywords: Callosciurus erythraeus, red-bellied squirrel, biological invasions, bark stripping, wood quality, alien species


Aim of study: Pallas´s squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus) is a harmful and generalist invasive mammal species that causes different problems in the forestry sector. The aim of this study was to evaluate the damage on the wood in three commercial tree species in Argentina, Eucalyptus dunnii, Populus deltoides and Pinus elliottii, due to debarking caused by this squirrel species.

Area of study: ¨Liebres Fue¨ forest plantation, located in Luján District (Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina).

Material and methods: We analyzed affected tissues and internal defects of wood associated with debarking signs. We randomly collected 74 stems of the three forest species with (N=62) and without debarking (N=12) between October 2016 and December 2017. Transversal cuttings (N=37) and longitudinal cuttings (N=37) of the stems were analyzed.

Main results: The defects inside the wood related to the damage due to the debarking caused by Pallas´s squirrels are described. All the damaged samples presented affected wood tissues, with unfavorable healing forming ribbed cracks and ram`s horn scars and/or presence of some internal defect (crack, crack with abnormal coloration, crack with kino/resin or crack with bark included). None of the damaged pieces, according to the rules of visual classification of sawn woods, showed the highest quality grade (Premium).

Research highlight: Pallas´s squirrel action causes wounds on the trees, leading to different responses by the trees that are transferred internally, showing abnormalities in the wood which diminish its value from a commercial point of view.


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How to Cite
PEDREIRA, P. A., PENON, E. A., GOZZI, A. C., PENON-SOBERO, N., & BORGNIA, M. (2023). Damage to the wood of forest species caused by the debarking of Pallas´s squirrel introduced into Argentina. Forest Systems, 32(2), e012. https://doi.org/10.5424/fs/2023322-20098
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