Red tree voles are arboreal rodents that inhabit dense, moist conifer forests. They prefer large stands and have a highly-specialized diet, primarily of Douglas fir needles. They require large branches for protection of nests, which are typically at least 50 feet above ground.
Red tree voles have low reproductive rates, small home ranges, limited mobility, and low dispersal capabilities. They are vulnerable to habitat loss from timber harvest, wildfire, development, recreation, roads, and other human-caused disturbances.
Develop survey methods for this small, canopy-dwelling species. Estimate home range sizes, dispersal distances, and migration patterns. Improve understanding of habitat relationships, including effects of forest management on vole populations, breeding success in young forest stands, and stand requirements for persistence (e.g., minimum number or size of conifer trees, connectivity). Conduct genetic studies.
Continue to monitor voles in response to forest management activities. Conduct surveys in forested lands prior to timber harvest, and protect high-priority sites. Management goals and protection for the red tree vole are generally thought to be compatible with those for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl and other late-successional forest species.