Ecological impacts of increasing numbers of deer in British woodland

Citation
Rj. Fuller et Rma. Gill, Ecological impacts of increasing numbers of deer in British woodland, FORESTRY, 74(3), 2001, pp. 193-199
Citations number
53
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Plant Sciences
Journal title
FORESTRY
ISSN journal
0015-752X → ACNP
Volume
74
Issue
3
Year of publication
2001
Pages
193 - 199
Database
ISI
SICI code
0015-752X(2001)74:3<193:EIOINO>2.0.ZU;2-C
Abstract
In recent decades, serious impacts on woodland regeneration have become wid espread in Britain as a consequence of increasing numbers of deer. Concern has also been growing about possible effects of deer on the wider ecology o f woodland. In April 2000, the Forest Ecology Group of the British Ecologic al Society held a meeting on 'Ecological Impacts of Deer in Lowland Woods'. This paper summarizes the main issues that emerged from papers presented a t that meeting, several of which are published in this special issue of For estry. The probable causes of the increases in deer populations and the pro blems posed for deer management are briefly considered. There are convincin g reasons to believe that for a wide range of taxa, abundances of particula r species and overall community composition can be strongly modified by inc reasing numbers of deer. Such ecological changes are probably well advanced in many British woods as a result of recent intensified grazing. The gener al effect of sustained heavy grazing and browsing is a reduction in the ric hness of biological communities. There are, however, considerable differenc es among species in their responses and heavy grazing is not detrimental to all species. Responses of many species will be non-linear, with intermedia te levels of deer pressure being beneficial in many cases. Ecologists have an important role to play in gaining a better understanding of these effect s; this is essential if informed decisions are to be made about deer manage ment at both local and regional levels. However, such research presents man y methodological challenges.