Tuesday, September 14, 2010

SCOTLAND NEWS: Deer Exclusion and Forest Restoration

Turning a woodland into a deer-free zone has allowed part of Scotland's ancient Caledonian Forest to flourish, according to charity Trees for Life.

With no grazing deer, hundreds of thousands of Scots pine seeds have been able to grow on 123 acres (50 hectares) in Glen Affric, Inverness-shire.

Forres-based Trees for Life has been running the project jointly with Forestry Commission Scotland.

The woodland at Coille Ruigh na Cuileige was fenced off 20 years ago.

Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life executive director, said the project had involved no tree planting and the woodland left to seed and grow.

He said: "Regular surveys have given us invaluable knowledge and data about regeneration in the native pinewoods of the Caledonian Forest."

Giles Drake-Brockman, environment manager for the commission in Inverness, Ross and Skye, said the scheme had made an important contribution to the reshaping of Glen Affric.

He added: "It tells a powerful story, showing how simple actions such as a fence to exclude deer can make the difference between open moorland and a naturally wooded landscape."

As well as Scots pine, the area has rowans, birches, heather, blaeberry, eared willow and juniper.

Bird life include crested tits and black grouse.

Source: BBC

Monday, September 13, 2010

MASSACHUSETTS NEWS: Blue Hills Reservation

The deer population in places like the Blue Hills Reservation has exploded in recent years, and the hazards – traffic risks, threats to local biodiversity and human health – require immediate action from local communities, U.S. Forest Service botanist Tom Rawinski writes in “Deer and Forests, and the People Who Love Them.”

Rawinski, based in Durham, N.H., suggests in the article that New England’s deer population is growing dangerously large and may need to be controlled by a combination of methods such as hunting, fencing off properties and planting deer-resistant species to restore forests damaged by deer foraging.

Rawinski writes that deer have devastated some native plant species while creating an environment that allows invasive plants to thrive. The article calls for more studies in Milton and “just about every eastern Massachusetts town” to measure the animals’ environmental impact.

Rawinski said in a phone interview that it is too early to start speculating about hunting in the Blue Hills or elsewhere. He said his article is a starting point for further research on the reservation’s population and serious dialogue about the best ways to address the problem, if there is one.

“We all need to do our homework on the issue and learn as much as we can about deer and what’s been done in other communities,” he said.

Friends Executive Director Judy Lehrer Jacobs said she posted the article on the group’s blog to spark debate and begin a discussion about the deer population’s impact on the reservation.

The idea of population control doesn’t really “have meat behind it at this point,” Jacobs said, and the group’s board has not voted on any course of action.

The Friends’ next step would be to meet with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and go over the options for controlling the deer population and protecting endangered plant species in the Blue Hills.

Full article at: The Patriot Ledger