The impact of deer on lowland woodland invertebrates: a review of the evidence and priorities for future research

Authors
Citation
Aja. Stewart, The impact of deer on lowland woodland invertebrates: a review of the evidence and priorities for future research, FORESTRY, 74(3), 2001, pp. 259-270
Citations number
74
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
259 - 270
Database
ISI
SICI code
0015-752X(2001)74:3<259:TIODOL>2.0.ZU;2-P
Abstract
Direct and indirect impacts of deer on invertebrates in lowland deciduous w oodland are reviewed with particular reference to Britain. The evidence ove rwhelmingly indicates that deer grazing and browsing can have a very profou nd impact throughout the woodland ecosystem, including on invertebrates. Un der certain circumstances, deer may be regarded as direct competitors with insect herbivores for plant biomass. However, more usually impacts will be indirect and mediated through changes in the structure, species composition and quality of the vegetation. The capacity of deer browsing activities to alter radically the species composition of the vegetation will have a majo r effect on the associated community of herbivorous insects. Whilst excessi ve deer densities will have detrimental effects on woodland biodiversity, i ncluding invertebrates, by inhibiting regeneration and removal of the under storey, some browsing will help to create and maintain open areas within wo odland and arrest succession in rides and clearings. This will be beneficia l for thermophilous insect species and those that require flowers for necta r and pollen. Evidence on how invertebrates respond to the regrowth foliage that is produced after deer damage remains equivocal but is an important q uestion for future research. Deer also have a direct effect on the dung-ass ociated invertebrate fauna that, in turn, provides an important food source at critical times of year for certain bird and bat species. Emphasis is pl aced on the importance of a multi-trophic approach in future studies of how deer interact with other components of the woodland ecosystem.