Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed Deer Overabundance Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed Deer Overabundance Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed."— Presentation transcript:

1 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed Deer Overabundance Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed Deer Overabundance Thomas J. Rawinski USDA Forest Service, Durham, NH (trawinski@fs.fed.us) Thomas J. Rawinski USDA Forest Service, Durham, NH (trawinski@fs.fed.us)

2 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Deer… Vegetation… and people.

3 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry OutlineOutline 1. How we got here1. How we got here 2. White-tailed deer biology and ecology2. White-tailed deer biology and ecology 3. Recognizing and understanding impacts3. Recognizing and understanding impacts 4. Challenges4. Challenges

4 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry How we got here… There is a widespread impulse to blame recent policies and management actions, or inaction, for the current deer situation, but the ultimate causes run much deeper and have been around for a very long time. Profound changes to landscape and to interactions among wildlife species brought about by humans are responsible for the current high densities of white-tailed deer and their pervasive effects on the rest of the ecosystem. Latham et al. 2005

5 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Deer populations in southern New England, and elsewhere, have increased dramatically in the last 20 years.

6 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Aldo Leopold – joined the US Forest Service in 1909 The last wolf and lion must be shot. - 1920

7 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry In 1944, Leopold wrote: Conservation is a state of health in the land. The land consists of soil, water, plants, and animals, but health is more than a sufficiency of these components. It is a state of vigorous self-renewal in each of them, and in all collectively. Such collective functioning of interdependent parts for the maintenance of the whole is characteristic of an organism. In this sense land is an organism, and conservation deals with its functional integrity, or health. Conservation is a state of health in the land. The land consists of soil, water, plants, and animals, but health is more than a sufficiency of these components. It is a state of vigorous self-renewal in each of them, and in all collectively. Such collective functioning of interdependent parts for the maintenance of the whole is characteristic of an organism. In this sense land is an organism, and conservation deals with its functional integrity, or health.

8 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Carrying capacity & thresholds of tolerance. Number of people concerned Number of deer Biological diversity carrying capacity Sustainable forestry carrying capacity Cultural carrying capacity Biological carrying capacity Conservation Biologists Foresters, Landowners Many Citizens Desired future condition?

9 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Socio-ecological System People (economic, socio-cultural, political) (economic, socio-cultural, political)People PlantsPlantsWildlifeWildlife Wildlife Management Ecosystem Management Forest Management Plant-Herbivore Relationships BiodiversityBiodiversity

10 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Deer biology and ecology White-tailed deer are adaptable and prolific animals equipped with keen survival instincts.White-tailed deer are adaptable and prolific animals equipped with keen survival instincts. Seven deer introduced to Block Island, RI in 1967 grew to a herd of 700 deer by 1994.Seven deer introduced to Block Island, RI in 1967 grew to a herd of 700 deer by 1994. Deer are generalist herbivores; herbivory impacts vary spatially, temporally, and among plant species, in relation to the population density of the herd.Deer are generalist herbivores; herbivory impacts vary spatially, temporally, and among plant species, in relation to the population density of the herd.

11 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Natural predators include bobcat, coyote, and black bear.

12 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Winter mortality can be severe in northern New England.

13 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry In many instances, regulated hunting can control deer populations.

14 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Deer-vehicle collision mortality can surpass hunting mortality. CT: 1,967 deer reported killed by autos in 2007; actual number estimated to be 11,802.CT: 1,967 deer reported killed by autos in 2007; actual number estimated to be 11,802. CT: hunter harvest was 11,062 in 2007.CT: hunter harvest was 11,062 in 2007. In North Kingstown, RI, 115 deer reported killed by autos in 2006; hunters harvested 57 in that town that year.In North Kingstown, RI, 115 deer reported killed by autos in 2006; hunters harvested 57 in that town that year.

15 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Recognizing Impacts: I t takes a trained eye to see whats missing. Profound impacts in this RI forest

16 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Obvious impacts of deer herbivory. Eastern Red-cedar

17 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Obvious impacts: Suppression of American beech, Suffolk County, NY Beech growth within a deer exclosure

18 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Obvious impacts: browse line on winged euonymus, Middlesex County, CT Obvious impacts: browse line on winged euonymus, Middlesex County, CT

19 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Dutchess County, NY Shrub-sapling layer missing; Japanese stiltgrass abundant. Dutchess County, NY Shrub-sapling layer missing; Japanese stiltgrass abundant.

20 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Westchester County, NY: Deer density calculated at 67 per square mile at this site. Fencing necessary to regenerate the forest.

21 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Suffolk County, NY: Pennsylvania sedge now dominates the understory. Lowbush blueberry bushes are mostly barren.

22 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Cayuga County, NY: Ginseng and white trillium all but extirpated. Sugar maple not regenerating. Garlic mustard flourishing.

23 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Suffolk and Ulster Counties, NY: Forests are beginning to disintegrate. Hurricanes and wildfires will have catastrophic consequences if deer herds remain large.

24 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Some resistant or tolerant native plant species. Picea spp.Picea spp. Fagus grandifoliaFagus grandifolia Sassafras albidumSassafras albidum Acer pensylvanicumAcer pensylvanicum Prunus serotinaPrunus serotina Kalmia latifoliaKalmia latifolia Myrica pemsylvanicaMyrica pemsylvanica Smilax rotundifoliaSmilax rotundifolia Dennstaedtia punctilobulaDennstaedtia punctilobula Ageratina altissimaAgeratina altissima Veratrum virideVeratrum viride Symplocarpus foetidusSymplocarpus foetidus Pyrola spp.Pyrola spp. Chimaphila spp.Chimaphila spp. Ranunculus spp.Ranunculus spp. Carex spp.Carex spp. Dichanthelium spp.Dichanthelium spp. Podophyllum peltatumPodophyllum peltatum Caulophyllum thalictroidesCaulophyllum thalictroides Asclepias spp.Asclepias spp. Apocynum spp.Apocynum spp. Carex squarrosa Podophyllum peltatum Pyrola americana Sassafras albidum

25 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Some resistant or tolerant exotic plant species. Robinia pseudoacaciaRobinia pseudoacacia Ailanthus altissimaAilanthus altissima Aralia elataAralia elata Berberis thunbergiiBerberis thunbergii Frangula alnusFrangula alnus Rosa multifloraRosa multiflora Rubus phoenicolasiusRubus phoenicolasius Lonicera morrowiiLonicera morrowii Lonicera japonicaLonicera japonica Alliaria petiolataAlliaria petiolata Cynanchum louiseaeCynanchum louiseae Hesperis matronalisHesperis matronalis Verbascum thapsusVerbascum thapsus Scilla sibericaScilla siberica Centaurea biebersteiniiCentaurea biebersteinii Arctium spp.Arctium spp. Microstegium vimineumMicrostegium vimineum Solanum dulcamaraSolanum dulcamara Aegopodium podograriaAegopodium podograria Chelidonium majusChelidonium majus Cirsium spp.Cirsium spp. Rhodotypos scandens Rosa multiflora Microstegium vimineum Lonicera japonica

26 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Detrimental impacts of overabundant white-tailed deer include: Loss of biodivesrity, and cascading ecological effects.Loss of biodivesrity, and cascading ecological effects. Simplified vegetation structure, bringing more sunlight to the forest floor.Simplified vegetation structure, bringing more sunlight to the forest floor. Proliferation of deer-resistant native and exotic plant species.Proliferation of deer-resistant native and exotic plant species. Tree populations bottle-necked at the seedling or dwarfed sapling stage.Tree populations bottle-necked at the seedling or dwarfed sapling stage. Forestry no longer sustainable, or yielding diminished value.Forestry no longer sustainable, or yielding diminished value. Ecosystem function and services compromised.Ecosystem function and services compromised.

27 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Degradation of forest bird habitat Indigo Buntings, Hooded Warblers, and Ovenbirds responded to increased vegetation in fenced exclosures in VA.Indigo Buntings, Hooded Warblers, and Ovenbirds responded to increased vegetation in fenced exclosures in VA. In PA, intermediate canopy- nesting birds were reduced 37% where deer population densities were highest.In PA, intermediate canopy- nesting birds were reduced 37% where deer population densities were highest.

28 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Many rare plant populations are being decimated A fence protects the globally rare New England Blazing-star on Block Island, RI.A fence protects the globally rare New England Blazing-star on Block Island, RI. Woodland sunflower and five other rarities seriously threatened by deer at the Grills Preserve in Westerly, RI.Woodland sunflower and five other rarities seriously threatened by deer at the Grills Preserve in Westerly, RI.

29 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Invasive Plants: Invasive plants are disproportionately resistant to deer herbivory. Deer are one mechanism for transportation of exotic plants into forests. White-tailed deer herbivory can accelerate the invasion of exotic plants. Native plants can beat many invasives if given a level playing field. Wine Raspberry

30 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Japanese barberry is highly resistant to deer herbivory.

31 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Scituate Reservoir Deer tracks. Japanese Stiltgrass.

32 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Scituate Reservoir Regeneration failure. Forests are becoming open and park-like

33 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Scituate Reservoir Hay-scented Fern dominates much of the understory.Hay-scented Fern dominates much of the understory.

34 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Scituate Reservoir Pink Ladys Slipper now scarce Dogbane flowers only within the fire tower fence

35 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Scituate Reservoir Detailed vegetation studies have been initiated

36 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Challenges we face Most people arent aware of the seriousness of the problem.Most people arent aware of the seriousness of the problem. People with diverse viewpoints need to find common ground.People with diverse viewpoints need to find common ground. Declining hunter population, and increasing development.Declining hunter population, and increasing development. Solutions can be expensive, and need to be sustained indefinitely.Solutions can be expensive, and need to be sustained indefinitely.

37 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry We think we know our forests. But in Pennsylvania and many other parts of the Northeast, deer overabundance has changed our forests so much and for so long that we truly dont know how our forests would look without too many deer. (Susan Stout, USDA Forest Service 2004)

38 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry It doesnt matter what forest values you want to preserve or enhance – whether deer hunting, animal rights, timber, recreation, or ecological integrity – deer are having dramatic, negative effects on all the values everyone holds dear. (Stephen Horsley, USDA Forest Service, 2004)

39 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Professionals from many fields concerned with ecosystem management will need to get involved in deer management. No other area of wildlife management will require more integrative thinking than that involved with crafting solutions to the dilemma of rising deer numbers and declining hunter numbers. (Riley et al. 2003)

40 USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Thank you. Questions?


Download ppt "USDA Forest ServiceNortheastern Area State and Private Forestry Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed Deer Overabundance Forest Health Impacts of White-tailed."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google