Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Report Released on Impacts of White-Tailed Deer in Northeastern Forests

Severe deer impact is shown with a exclusion fence.
I wanted to share this new publication from the US Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.  They recently published an online report by Botanist Tom Rawinski titled "White-tailed deer in northeastern forests: understanding and assessing impacts."  This is a 31 page publication packed full of color photos and descriptions.

The table of contents is as follows: Introduction, The White-tailed Deer, Forest Vegetation, Of Moose and Rabbits, Fenced Areas and Other Inaccessible Places, Deer Impacts are Never Uniform, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?, The Element of Time, Classes of Palatability, Preferred and Staple Plant Species, Low-preference and Avoided Plant Species, Synthesis, and Mitigating Negative Impacts.

This publication is well worth printing and reading.

White-tailed deer in northeastern forests: understanding and assessing impacts

Introduction: The scientific evidence is clear. White-tailed deer overabundance is a threat to millions of acres of forest land in the Northeastern United States.1 As keystone herbivores, whitetails can have disproportionately large impacts on biodiversity and forest dynamics. Impacts may be obvious or may cascade through the ecosystem in ways not fully understood.

Human actions and inaction are the root cause of this problem. Consider the implications of this statement:
Unfortunately, fewer than half of Pennsylvania’s forest holds adequate numbers of young trees to simply replace itself.”
Without young trees coming on, deer-impacted forests face a bleak future. These forests have lost much of their capacity to withstand disturbance and to absorb change. The natural disturbances that once diversified and rejuvenated forested landscapes now simply accelerate forest disintegration (figures 1, 2). Forest management is no longer sustainable in many areas (figure 3). Few, if any, threat factors can inflict such damage to forest ecosystems and forest-related economies.

Click here to view the full publication.

 State and Private Forestry News, Jan 2015, Newtown Square, Pa.

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