Notes from the Deer Wars:
Science and Values in the Eastern Forest
By Matt Miller
One of the biggest threats to the eastern forest also happens to be one of its most charismatic creatures: the white-tailed deer.
Recently, a group of Nature Conservancy scientists and land managers called over-abundant deer a bigger threat to forests than climate change. The white-tailed deer is arguably the most studied wild animal in the world, but this is more than a science issue. You cannot talk about deer without addressing competing human passions, values and traditions.
This is true anywhere the white-tailed deer roams in the United States. It is especially true in Pennsylvania, a place where opinions on deer management have probably ignited more bar fights than politics or religion. I’m at the Conservancy’s Woodbourne Forest Preserve in north-central Pennsylvania to see how science can potentially help solve the deer issue.
I am here to see firsthand how that passion for deer can perhaps be summoned to help the forest rather than harm it…
(read more: The Nature Conservancy)