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Water
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Managing Deer in the Commonwealth
Full Report
Managing Deer
Press Release
Mitigating Deer Impacts on Pennsylvania Forests
In many parts of the eastern U.S., overabundant deer populations have seriously degraded the health of forests: threatening the ability of forests to regenerate; decreasing the diversity of tree species; eliminating many species of shrubs and ferns; and reducing populations of songbirds and other wildlife that depend on forest vegetation. Many states still struggle with how to track these impacts, and what ought to be done. This is a particularly important issue in Pennsylvania, where deer heavily browse seedlings, and thus the future regeneration of the 2.1 million-acre state forest system. The situation on many private lands--where few landowners can afford to erect fences--can be more dire. The question of what to do and what information should guide these actions is complicated.  Deer are important for many reasons, especially as a game species, but deer “herd management” is both celebrated and anathema depending on whom you ask.

Deer in field
The Institute hosted a review of state deer management programs throughout the country and found similar challenges and a range of sophistication and success. Pennsylvania continues to strengthen science-based approaches to keep deer in balance with healthy forest ecosystems, and in fact has achieved more on this front than most other states. Our review also shows that some established goals have yet to be met in Pennsylvania, and that while forests are still being damaged the pathway forward is not free of controversy. The study makes recommendations on steps forward, and the Institute will continue to encourage the adoption of approaches to better conserve the forest ecosystems of Pennsylvania.   

For more information:
  • Full report: Managing Deer in the Commonwealth: A Study of Pennsylvania and other States [Download pdf]
  • Press Release [Download pdf]

Project Leader: Will Price, Program Director
Grey Towers National Historic Site Support Our Work Best in America