Cluster fencing reverses deer trend

Two researchers studied a forest park in the North Island of New Zealand using six decades’ worth of data alongside 20 years of monitoring to see how different sika deer management methods impacted new mountain beech forest growth.

Their own monitoring found that browsing by sika deer has disrupted forest regeneration by reducing the survival and growth of seedlings and saplings in the forest park.

Six decades of commercial harvesting, government-funded culling and unrestricted sport hunting have not reduced deer numbers to low enough levels to reduce browsing on seedlings and allow forest regeneration.

However, they found this trend could be reversed once deer were excluded by fencing.