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#3338483 - 08/27/13 08:08 PM PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving
grundsow
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“For decades, deer and forest management in Pennsylvania have operated primarily on the idea that managing white-tailed deer abundance will influence forest regeneration. However, indicators of deer browsing have declined in some management units, but regeneration is not improving -- or not improving as quickly as expected. This research is designed to find out why.”
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#3338488 - 08/27/13 08:10 PM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: grundsow]
pass-thru
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It's a no-brainer that once serious damage is done, it will take many many years to regenerate.
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#3338959 - 08/28/13 07:48 AM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: pass-thru]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: pass-thru
It's a no-brainer that once serious damage is done, it will take many many years to regenerate.


I suspect that is the case. That and very low deer densities may be needed in areas with minimal acreage in regen. Back when I first started experimenting with regeneration, I made a 6-acre clear-cut in a large wooded area with a deer density of only 12 deer per square mile. That low of a deer density was still enough to completely wipe out all oak regen. I cut an area that was 80% oak and all that survived the deer browsing enough to repopulate was poplar and elm saplings.
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#3339250 - 08/28/13 11:26 AM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: BSK]
grundsow
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Thirteen years ago or so when I toured my first deer exclosures, I distinctly remember one of my first thoughts: “Why has no one fitted the scale of timber operations to the size of a deer's home range?” Instead, everyone stays focused on deer density.

When a natural disaster (be it fire, tornado, hurricane, etc.) wipes out an area many times the size of a deer’s home range, there is no problem with regeneration.

A 6-acre cutting is less than 1% of a deer’s home range, so naturally it will get overrun.

I find it interesting that thirteen years into this whole management change that there has be no measurable effect on tree regeneration anywhere, and no measureable effect on “breeding ecology”, and yet the program continues…


Edited by grundsow (08/28/13 09:12 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling

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#3339313 - 08/28/13 12:28 PM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: grundsow]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: grundsow
Thirteen years ago or so when I toured my first deer exclosures, I distinctly remember one of my first thoughts: “Why has no one fitted the scale of timer operations to the size of a deer home range?” Instead, everyone stays focused on deer density.

When a natural disaster (be it fire, tornado, hurricane, etc.) wipes out an area many times the size of a deer’s home range, there is no problem with regeneration.

A 6-acre cutting is less than 1% of a deer’s home range, so naturally it will get overrun.


Home range has nothing to do with it, as many deer' home ranges overlap the same spot.

It has everything to do with total acreage of the cut and deer density of the area.


 Quote:
I find it interesting that thirteen years into this whole management change that there has be no measurable effect on tree regeneration anywhere, and no measureable effect on “breeding ecology”, and yet the program continues…


So how do you explain the regen growth inside the deer exclosure?
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3339584 - 08/28/13 03:54 PM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: BSK]
grundsow
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Antler point restrictions were very controversial. They were touted as being able to “improve the breeding ecology” and biologists had the “science” to back it up. Even still, biologists told us that AR would not be implemented unless a certain percentage of hunters approved. However, not only did commissioners pass AR without the required minimum approval by hunters, but even years later biologists still could not measure the biological change expected, and so stopped collecting data, Strike #1.

Now it seems we are repeating the same type of hoodwink with deer density and regeneration.

PA might have the most studies out of any state on interaction between deer and forest regeneration. Still, there is a failure to explain why the forecast for regen was not accurate. It’s fascinating to see that any of these public resource managers still have a job.

Biologists told us that reduced deer density would result in increased reproductive success for deer, however 13 years later, they are not able to measure any change, Strike #2.

With this latest development, foresters/managers told us they had the “science” about forest regeneration to back up their plans for deer reduction, and yet now claim they CANNOT EXPLAIN the lack of expected regeneration (despite deer densities down in the single digits in many places), Strike #3.

It’s really quite remarkable to hear this while during the same time period deer harvest & hunting license sales have plummeted. Frankly, I don’t know how they expect to keep the deer density this low, over such large areas, for whatever lengthily time is decided upon, now that the army of hunters is no longer there to do it.

 Quote:
by BSK:
So how do you explain the regen growth inside the deer exclosure?


IMHO, exclosures get the point across to casual onlookers that deer browsing DOES impact regeneration quantity and variety. They serve a purpose, but the problem is both DCNR & PGC have not altered their forestry practices. They still cut on a 100-year rotation cycle (cutting 1% per year for 100 years). And the biggest mistake they still make is little 10, 20, 50-acre cuttings sometimes.

IMHO no cutting should be less than maybe 150 acres, probably larger in heavily forested & severely overbrowsed areas.

Let’s say a pre-logging pellet count returns a low deer density of 12 dpfsm on a 640 acre tract of continuous saw timber. Make a 6-acre clearcut in the middle of that, and I’ll bet that the deer no longer spend their time feeding evenly dispersed across the 640 acres anymore. If each deer spends a mere 1/4 of its feeding time on the 6-acres of clearcut, that’s still an extremely high localized density of 320 dpfsm (which is more than the 120 to 200 dpfsm that the studies say seedling/sapling stage timber can support). The result is the clearcut gets altered like you found, or even wiped out completely.

640 acres ÷ 6 acres = 107
107 × 12 dpsfm = 1,280 dpfsm
1,280 × 1/4 time = 320 dpfsm

At 150-acres in size, even a higher starting density of 21 dpfsm could spend 100% of their feeding time on the clearcut, and the localized density would only rise to 90 dpfsm, which should be easily handled by s/s stage timber.

640 acres ÷ 150 acres = 4
4 × 21 dpsfm = 90 dpfsm
90 × 1/2 time = 45 dpfsm

At 150-acres in size the clearcut is more tailored to deer home range size and feeding behavior, and pre-existing deer density becomes almost a non-factor. But that’s just my silly ramblings…

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#3339726 - 08/28/13 05:53 PM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: grundsow]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: grundsow
 Originally Posted By: BSK

So how do you explain the regen growth inside the deer exclosure?


...but the problem is both DCNR & PGC have not altered their forestry practices. They still cut on a 100-year rotation cycle (cutting 1% per year for 100 years). And the biggest mistake they still make is little 10, 20, 50-acre cuttings sometimes.

IMHO no cutting should be less than maybe 150 acres, probably larger in heavily forested & severely overbrowsed areas.


Yup, you nailed it grundsow. A 1% cut? Of COURSE they're not getting regen! When I plan hardwood timber cuts for large private properties, I never cut less than 5% of the property in a given year. I just skip several years before making another cut. In fact, the very first year of timber removal, I generally plan on a 10% cut to "jump ahead" of deer browse pressure on the first regen.

At an annual 1% cut, they are NEVER going to get ahead of the browse pressure, no matter how far they drop the deer density.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3340500 - 08/29/13 11:26 AM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: grundsow]
grundsow
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Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, but what do you make of this latest report? Why would they say the “relationship between deer browsing and forest regeneration remains unclear”??? It begs the question: “Why are we doing this?”

They know that fencing works to regenerate to their standards, they know that cut and herbicide works, why should we keep up this low-deer policy if it’s not producing results?

In order to get DCNR forests “certified” by that international group as sustainably managed, they were required to address deer browsing. Sure seems like that is why the deer program continues…

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#3340645 - 08/29/13 01:23 PM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: grundsow]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: grundsow
Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not


No grundsow, you nailed the answer. I had no idea they were doing a 1% cut each year. They will NEVER get ahead of the browse pressure doing that.
_________________________
"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3343006 - 08/31/13 08:30 PM Re: PSU Says: Fewer Deer = Regen Not Improving [Re: BSK]
Boone 58
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