Date of this Version
Taylor, J. 2013. Effects of black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk herbivory in intensively managed Douglas-fir plantations. Western Forester 58(2):4-5.
Black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk are found throughout conifer-dominated Pacific Northwest forests west of the Cascade Crest, where they are important aesthetically, culturally, ecologically, and recreationally. Throughout their annual cycles, deer and elk use a variety of forest types and age classes to meet their basic requirements: food, water, cover, breeding, and young-rearing. Although their foraging strategies differ, black-tailed deer (browsers) and Roosevelt elk (grazers) often use the same forests. In general, forage plants for deer and elk are shade intolerant and are stimulated to grow when exposed to direct sunlight. As such, deer and elk often use clearcut patches following harvest. For Douglas-fir and other conifer species in the Pacific Northwest, the first five years after planting (i.e., stand initiation) is the most vulnerable period in which trees are exposed to wildlife damage, as young trees are within forage height and have not yet reached a free-to-grow condition. Because of this, foraging by deer and elk (hereafter, herbivory) has been documented as the most widespread form of damage in reforestation efforts in the Pacific Northwest.