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Historical review of ground squirrel crop damage in California

International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 42(2-3): 93-99

Historical review of ground squirrel crop damage in California

The threat to crops from the California ground squirrel, Spermophilus beecheyi, is followed from the early Spanish mission fathers through the gold rush period and continues from the turn of the century to the present day. Included are the kinds of crops damaged and how the damage became more varied as agriculture became much more intense and diverse following World War II, i.e. post-1945. Damage to fruit and nut crops, as well as to field and vegetable crops, is discussed, along with the more unique speciality crops such as seed production and flowers grown for the commercial market. A brief review is given to some of the cultural practices which influence squirrel populations-both positively and negatively. The detrimental effect of the squirrel on range land management and reforestation receive due attention. Estimates of the multimillion dollar monetary losses caused by the ground squirrel to agricultural crops are assembled from previously published reports dating from 1910 to the present.

Accession: 003161339

DOI: 10.1016/s0964-8305(98)00014-6

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