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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

Landscape-level Deer Herd Reductions Restore Forest Understory Plant Communities but Not Species Diversity

Snapshot : Since 2001, NRS scientist Alejandro Royo has tracked the response of herbaceous plant communities to deer herd reductions throughout the 70,000-acre Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative (KQDC) in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Royo, Alejandro A. 
Research Location : Eastern U.S.
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 217

Summary

White-tailed deer overbrowsing has altered forest understory plant species diversity throughout eastern North America. Since 2001, NRS scientist Alejandro Royo has tracked the response of herbaceous plant communities to deer herd reductions throughout the 70,000-acre Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative (KQDC) in northwestern Pennsylvania.Royo and his partners---forest managers from the Allegheny National Forest, the Bradford Watershed, Forestry Investment Associates, the Collins Pine, RAM Forest Products, and Sand County Foundation ---found rapid, dramatic increases in overall forb and shrub cover of deer-palatable understory plants, such as trilliums and Canada mayflower, but no changes in plant species diversity. Thus, controlling deer alone may not promote diversity in overbrowsed, species-poor forests without additional restoration strategies. These results are being incorporated into a vegetation monitoring proposal by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry for use in its 2.5 million acres of state forests.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Collins Pine, RAM Forest Products, and Sand County Foundation

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Resource Management and Use
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