Figure 1. Feral hogs girdled and killed this pine tree by using it as a rubbing post. Photo courtesy of Jack Mayer.
Feral hogs severely effect trees and timber resources in several ways:
- rubbing and girdling mature trees (Fig. 1)
- rooting and chewing lateral roots of mature trees
- “tusking” or scent marking with the tusk glands, which damages tree bark
- disturbance of planted seedlings
Damage to planted seedlings is the most widespread and costly forest damage by feral hogs. The grass stage of longleaf pine is particularly susceptible to hog rooting and chewing. Such damage has been documented in the southeastern United States since the mid-1900s. These animals were observed destroying young trees at the rate of six per minute per hog, for a total of 400 to 1,000 seedlings per day. The U.S. Forest Service has attributed complete failures of planting longleaf and slash pine in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi to feral hogs. Similar damage by feral hogs has been reported for planted hardwood seedlings.