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Answers to Common Questions about the Deer Management Plan for the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve
- Why has the college decided to implement a deer population management program?
- How many deer are on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve (VFEP)? Is that too many?
- Why are there so many deer there?
- What long-term ecological damages are the deer causing?
- Why is it unhealthy for deer to live in high densities?
- If we lower the population density of deer on the VFEP won’t more deer move in from other areas?
- How does the deer overpopulation affect the neighborhoods surrounding the VFEP?
- What deer population management options has Vassar explored?
- How has Vassar managed the deer overpopulation on the VFEP?
- Are other organizations in the region managing their deer populations in a similar way?
- How does sharpshooting to reduce the deer population protect the safety of the surrounding neighborhood?
- What happens to the deer after they are culled on the VFEP?
- Does Vassar choose to cull deer over its winter break because students will be away and the college fears student protests?
- How long will deer population management be necessary at the VFEP?
- Estimating Deer Density
- Vegetation Assessments
- Tree Sapling Density at VFEP and CIES
- Number of Saplings in Fenced and Unfenced areas at VFEP
- Diversity in the Herbaceous Layer
- Impacts of White-Tailed Deer Overabundance in Forest Ecosystems: An Overview (PDF)
Thomas J. Rawinski
Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry
Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- New York's Deer Management Program
Department of Environmental Conservation
Here is a short bibliography for those interested in learning more about the ecological impacts of deer overabundance. These articles were all published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.
- Allombert, S, S. Stockton, and J-L. Martin. 2005. A natural experiment on the impact of overabundant deer on forest invertebrates. Conservation Biology 19:1917-1929.
- Augustine, D.J. and D. DeCalesta. 2003. Defining deer overabundance and threats to forest communities: From individual plants to landscape structure. Ecoscience 10:472-486.
- Cote, S.D., T.P. Rooney, J-P. Tremblay, C. Dussault, and D. Waller. 2004. Ecological impacts of deer overabundance. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 35:113-147.
- Cote, S.D. 2005. Extirpation of a large black bear population by introduced white-tailed deer. Conservation Biology 19:1668-1671.
- DeCalesta, D.S. 1994. Effect of white-tailed deer on songbirds within managed forests in Pennsylvania. The Journal of Wildlife Management 58:711-718.
- Goetsch, C., J. Wigg, A.A. Royo, T. Ristau, W.P.Carson. 2011. Chronic over browsing and biodiversity collapse in a forest understory in Pennsylvania: Results from a 60 year-old deer exclusion plot. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 138:220-224.
- Horsley, S.B, S.L. Stout and D.S. DeCalesta. 2003. White-tailed deer impact on the vegetation dynamics of a northern hardwood forest. Ecological Applications 13:98-118.
- Levine, C.R., R.J. Winchcombe, C.D. Canham, L.M. Christenson, and M.L. Ronsheim. 2012. Deer impacts on seed banks and saplings in eastern New York. Northeastern Naturalist 19:49-66.
- Myers, J.A., M. Vellend, S. Gardescu, and P.L. Marks. 2004. Seed dispersal by white-tailed deer: implications for long-distance dispersal, invasion, and migration of plants in eastern North America. Oecologia 139:35-44.
- Pietz, P. and D.A. Granfors. 2000. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) predation on grassland songbird nestlings. The American Midland Naturalist 144:419-422.
- Rooney, T.P., S.M. Wiegmann, D.A. Rogers, and D.M. Waller. 2004. Biotic impoverishment and homogenization in unfragmented forest understory communities. Conservation Biology 18:787-798.
- Rooney, T.P. 2009. High white-tailed deer densities benefit graminoids and contribute to biotic homogenization of forest ground-layer vegetation. Plant Ecology 202:103-111.
- Russell, F.L., D.B. Zippen, and N.L. Fowler. 2001. Effects of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on plants, plant populations, and communities: A review. The American Midland Naturalist 146:1-26.
- Rutberg, A.T., R.E. Naugle, L.A. Thiele, and I.K.M. Liu. 2004. Effects of immunocontraception on a suburban population of white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus. Biological Conservation 116:243-250.
- Stromayer, K.A.K. and R.J. Warren. 1997. Are overabundant deer herds in the eastern United States creating alternate stable states in forest plant communities. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25:277-234.
- Waller, D.M. and W. S. Alverson. 1997. The white-tailed deer: A keystone herbivore. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 25:217-228.