Researchers attempting to provide alternative solutions to deer damage to NTFPs are working to identify species of trees and shrubs that are not as attractive or even avoided by deer. Scott E. Hygnstrom from the University of Nebraska and research colleagues from New Mexico State University and the USDA National Wildlife Research Center published a study in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortTechnology that evaluated deer damage to 26 species of trees and shrubs.
"Our objectives were to determine the varying levels of deer damage sustained by 26 species of trees and shrubs; to relate morphological features of trees and shrubs to damage levels; and to evaluate the economic impacts of deer damage on the production of nontimber forest products", explained Hygnstrom.
The study was conducted at the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center. The area included eight species of trees and 18 species of shrubs that produced commercially valuable nontimber forest products. The 40-acre complex was occupied by about 48 white-tailed deer per square mile during the study.
The team measured the frequency and intensity of browsing and rubbing by deer on various species of trees and shrubs after 1 year of growth. To assess the financial impacts of deer damage, the scientists recorded numbers of stems rendered unmarketable by deer browsing or rubbing while harvesting and processing selected woody florals in February and December 2001. The results showed that pussy willow suffered the least economic impact of deer browsing and rubbing; less than 1% of the total number of stems produced were rejected for market. High levels of damage were documented for 'Blood-twig' dogwood (more than 21% of the stems were rejected). Losses per year due
|Contact: Michael W. Neff|
American Society for Horticultural Science