Abstract: Browsing by white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can profoundly affect the abundance and population structure of several woody and herbaceous plant species. Enclosure studies and population surveys reveal that past and current deer densities as low as 4 deer/km2 may prevent regeneration of the once common woody species, Canada yew (Taxus canadensis), eastern hemlock (Tsuja canadensis), and white cedar Puja occidentalis), as well as several herbaceous species. Prior to European settlement, forests in northern Wisconsin contained relatively sparse deer populations (<4/km2), but extensive timber cutting in the late nineteenth century boosted deer populations. Continued habitat fragmentation resulting from scattered timber harvests and the creation of “wildlife openings” to improve deer forage maintain these high densities throughout much of the Northeast.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1988
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