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Use of Vegetational Characteristics and Browsing Patterns to Predict Deer Damage in Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) Plantations

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Abstract:

Browsing of seedlings by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can make natural and artificial forest regeneration difficult. Few mathematical models predict deer browsing within and between sites, giving managers only landscape-level characteristics, such as deer population levels and yearly snowfall measurements, to determine where deer-protective measures should be installed. This study described browsing patterns and assessed influence of vegetational characteristics on browsing. Predictive models were developed using overstory and understory measurements, and browsing reconstructions of individual seedlings within eight eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) plantations in northern Minnesota. Results indicated that deer concentrate browsing on terminal leaders in shorter seedlings, shifting to laterals as seedlings approach browsing height limits (140 cm). Damage models were site-specific. The vertical and horizontal distribution of understory vegetation and the presence of alternative food sources influenced the probability of browsing. Future models should incorporate these measures as well as browse selection patterns, landscape-level characteristics, and past deer activity. North. J. Appl. For. 16(2):96-102.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources, 115 Green Hall, 1530 North Cleveland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108-6112, (612) 625-3733;, Fax: (612) 625-5212

Publication date: 1999-06-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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