Dr Lurz said:
"The availability of a suitable habitat is a key resource determining the presence of a species in a particular landscape.
"When red squirrel population dynamics were simulated based on the current forest composition, the felling plan and possible tree seed compositions, the results indicated that red squirrels in Kidland may be reduced to a 'handful' of individuals (less than 20) and could face local extinction around 2012. This would be caused by the reduction in suitable habitat of cone bearing age over the next 20 years due to timber harvesting.
"If oak trees were planted and allowed to mature, the grey squirrel population was predicted to expand and to reach an average of 80 individuals by 2050.
But he added:
"The simulation results of the revised felling and restock plans indicate that red squirrels should persist for the next 40 years until the next rotation"
The development of computer models for native mammals such as the red squirrel and the availability of high quality forest maps or satellite images provides a unique opportunity for the conservation of endangered native mammals.
Graham Gill, forest manager of Kielder District said:
"The Newcastle University work has given us a much improved understanding of the habitat requirements of red squirrels which we are able to put to immediate effect in our redesign of Kidland Forest.
"Large conifer forests like Kielder and Kidland are rapidly becoming the last refuge of red squirrels in England and the decisions we take today have direct influence on the squirrel populations of 40 years in the future.
"Our new forest design plan does not offer any guarantees, but should help tip the balance a little more in this cherished animal's favour."