Study: Deer Taking Toll on White Pine, White Cedar

A recent study says browsing by deer on white pines and white cedars is changing the nature of the forests along Minnesota’s North Shore.

Whitetailed deer, photo courtesy MN DNR

Minnesota Public Radio reports on the story HERE.

Nature Conservancy forest ecologist Mark White compared forest plots along the north shore of Lake Superior which fenced out deer for the past 20 years with areas where the browsing ungulates roamed free. According the to the study, the deer-free plots showed twice the biomass of the open forest.

White said the animals’ feeding habits have an negative impact on young white pines and white cedars. Mark argued that ensuring enough young pines and cedars were available to grow to maturity but required increased planting of trees and a reduction in the density of the deer population.

The state of Minnesota plants roughly a quarter-million white pines annually, mostly in northeastern Minnesota. Deer management policies in the region call for reduced population densities. Deer hunters are reluctant to see deer density further reduced.


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