A Doe, a Deer

Posted on May 26, 2011. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , |

 

Here at Clean Currents we are animal lovers.  Dogs, cats, hampsters, fish, you name it and at least one of our staffers have owned them.  And while nobody at Clean Currents has owned a white-tailed deer, we hold a special place in our hearts for Bambi.  

 

But we also recognize that eastern white-tailed deer have caused a fair share of consternation in our region – from collisions with vehicles, to nibbled-on gardens, and the spread of ticks.  

A recent story by WAMU environmental reporter Sabri Ben-Achour highlighted just how damaging our neighborhood deer can be to fragile ecosystems.  Back in 1990, scientists at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., enclosed 10 acres of forest with 8-foot high fences, locking deer out.  Twenty-one years later the difference between the ecosystem within the enclosure and the surrounding habitat is as clear as night and day.

Native flora and fauna species are flourishing within the enclosure, and the vegetative cover is markedly denser than outside of the enclosure, which is populated with mainly short grasses and mature trees with little in between. 

The results of the Smithsonian experiment were surprising – showing that deer allow invasive species to flourish by consuming less hardy native flora.  The presence of deer also led to a sharp decrease in the density and diversity of plants and animals … read the full story HERE

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