Tara Auxt Baugher
Wild animal diversity is an important component of a healthy orchard ecosystem. However, if overabundant, certain species may cause considerable economic loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, estimated wildlife damage to U.S. agriculture exceeds $550 million annually. Common wildlife problems in tree fruit plantings are fruit-eating birds, such as starlings (Sturnnus vulgaris), and browsing mammals, such as voles (Microtus species), deer (Odocoileus species), and rabbits (Sylvilagus species). Strategies to maintain a balance between human and wildlife needs vary from one agroecosystem to the next.
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