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This article is part of the 2020 Patuxent Science & News Volume 5 Issue 1 Newsletter

U.S. Geological Survey - co-authored Report

Image shows a male white-tailed deer facing to the left of the image.

A male white-tailed deer. By USDA photo by Scott Bauer - Image Number: K5437-3. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=245466

 

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are among the most impactful herbivores in the eastern United States. Legacy forest effects, those accrued from intense herbivory over time, manifest as low seedling regeneration, high cover of plant species that are infrequently browsed by deer, presence or expansion of nonnative or invasive plant species, few herbaceous species, and diminished capacity for recovery. Interfering vegetation (that is, species that increase in cover and density due to avoidance by deer, such as American beech sprouts, Pennsylvania sedge, and hay-scented fern) increase competition for light and hinder recruitment of trees into the forest canopy.

Kilheffer, C. R., Underwood, H. B., Leopold, D. J., and Guerrieri, R., 2019, Evaluating Legacy Effects of Hyperabundant White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Forested Stands of Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, New York Reston, VA,  U.S. Geological Survey.  Open-File Report 2019-1116,   viii, 35 p.   Abstract

 

 

 

 

National Parks Service- co-authored Report

 

White-tailed Deer at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge

(Credit: Tom Koerner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Public domain.)

 

This Natural Resource Report is the first of a five-part series in response to Agreement Number P14AC00469, which was awarded to the co-authors in response to Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy dramatically impacted coastal New England in 2012. Many areas of Fire Island National Seashore (40.669, -73.051) were inundated or eroded, and several primary dunes were overwashed by storm surge. The cooperative agreement addressed the following tasks: (1) assess effects of white-tailed deer browsing on vegetation establishment, growth, and development in key overwash zones on Fire Island National Seashore, (2) expand vegetation monitoring developed for the Sunken Forest into additional maritime forest

Kilheffer, C., Ries, L., Raphael, J., and Underwood, H. B., 2019, Quantifying the effects of deer browsing on vegetation establishment, growth and development in overwash fans 2015-2016 post-Hurricane Sandy assessment. Fort Collins, Colorado,  National Park Service.  Natural Resource Report NPS/FIIS/NRR—2019/2037,  60  p.  Abstract

 

Image: White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

White-tailed deer in a field.

(Credit: John J. Mosesso, USGS. Public domain.)

 

 

 

This Natural Resource Report is the second of a five-part series in response to Agreement Number P14AC00469, which was awarded to the co-authors in response to Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy dramatically impacted coastal New England in 2012. Many areas of Fire Island National Seashore, New York (40.669, -73.051) were inundated or eroded, and many primary dunes were overwashed by storm surge. The cooperative agreement aimed to address the following four research tasks: (1) assess effects of white-tailed deer browsing on vegetation establishment, growth, and development in key overwash zones on Fire Island National Seashore, (2) expand vegetation monitoring developed for the Sunken Forest into additional maritime forest zones on Fire Island, (3) document daily, seasonal, and annual movements of white-tailed deer on Fire Island, and (4) explore how access to food, thermal cover, and fresh water affect activity and space use of white-tailed deer between heavily urbanized western communities of Fire Island and the Wilderness Area. This report solely addresses objective (3) listed above. The remaining four reports in this series include three reports addressing each of the remaining objectives and a comprehensive report addressing Fire Island’s resilience to future disturbance.

Kilheffer, C., Ries, L., Raphael, J., and Underwood, H. B., 2019, White-tailed deer movements and space use on Fire Island - a four-year radio-telemetry study 2015-2016 post-Hurricane Sandy assessment. Fort Collins, Colorado,  National Park Service.  Natural Resource Report NPS/FIIS/NRR—2019/2038,  66  p.  Abstract

Bison migrating out of the Gardiner Basin

(Credit: Neal Herbert, National Park Service . Public domain.)

 

 

The Department of the Interior Bison Conservation Initiative calls for its bureaus to plan and implement collaborative American bison conservation and to ensure involvement by tribal, state, and local governments and the public in that conservation. Four independently managed and geographically separated National Park Service (NPS) units in Interior Region 5 (IR5) preserve bison and other components of a formerly contiguous Great Plains landscape. Management of bison in IR5 parks has historically been specific to each park, and livestock and range management science informed much of the decision making. In the past two decades, NPS has shifted away from managing bison from this livestock-based perspective towards a wildlife stewardship approach, including ensuring their long-term adaptive potential and considering them as just one part of a complex ecosystem. This shift requires a more holistic and cooperative approach to stewardship that is challenging not only because of limitations in funding and fluctuations in leadership priorities, but also because of the constraints imposed by the parks’ relatively small, fenced areas.

Symstad, A., Miller, B. W., Shenk, T. M., Athearn, N. D., and Runge, M. C., 2019, A draft decision framework for the National Park Service Interior Region 5 bison stewardship strategy. Fort Collins, Colorado,  National Park Service.  Natural Resource Report  2019/204,  viii, 43  p. Abstract