The effect of deer on subalpine forest and scrub
- Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Christchurch
During the last few years there has been a great deal of controversy about deer. The debate centres on the following three questions :
Do deer cause any damage of consequence to the forests and mountain vegetation?
Is any damage offset by the benefits which deer confer as game animals?
If control of deer numbers is necessary, how is this to be achieved?
A team from the New Zealand Forest Service has been studying these questions in the field, and during the past three years my part has been to study the vegetation near the tree line.
First, I shall compare conditions in three mountainous localities which all receive very heavy rainfalls, probably far exceeding 100 in. per annum. Red deer are the main browsing animals in all three localities.