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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Wolf Recovery and the Future of Wisconsin's Forests: A Trophic Link

Snapshot : Overabundant white-tailed deer populations have serious negative effects on understory plant community structure and composition. Wolves, which are top predators of deer, have been recolonizing central Wisconsin since the early 1990s. NRS scientist Keith Moser and partners from the University of Georgia are measuring trophic cascade effects, that is, whether wolves are reducing local browse intensity by white-tailed deer and thus mitigating the biotic impoverishment of understory plant communities.

Principal Investigators(s) :
W. Keith Moser 
Research Location : Wisconsin
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 208

Summary

Overabundant white-tailed deer populations have serious negative effects on understory plant community structure and composition. Wolves, which are top predators of deer, have been recolonizing central Wisconsin since the early 1990s. NRS scientist Keith Moser and partners from the University of Georgia are measuring trophic cascade effects, that is, whether wolves are reducing local browse intensity by white-tailed deer and thus mitigating the biotic impoverishment of understory plant communities. Wisconsin DNR wolf territory data combined with Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data were used to develop a landscape-level spatially explicit analysis protocol in FIA plots categorized as high wolf impact areas and low wolf impact areas. : Preliminary results suggest that seedling survival of preferred, browse- sensitive seedlings is higher in areas continuously occupied by wolf packs.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • University of Georgia

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Wildlife and Fish
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