New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2007) 31(1): 79- 87

Introduced red deer reduce tree regeneration in Pureora Forest, central North Island, New Zealand

Research Article
Sean W. Husheer  
  1. New Zealand Forest Surveys, 5 McElwee Street, Jervoistown, Napier, New Zealand

This study uses data from repeatedly measured forest monitoring plots (20 × 20 m) (n = 32) and nine ungulate exclosures (paired fenced and unfenced plots; 20 × 20 m) to show the effects of introduced ungulates on tree regeneration in Pureora Forest Park, central North Island, between 974 and 2002. Results show that introduced ungulates, particularly red deer (Cervus elaphus scoticus), have suppressed the regeneration of hardwood species such as Coprosma grandifolia, Elaeocarpus dentatus, Griselinia littoralis, Melicytus ramiflorus, Schefflera digitata and Weinmannia racemosa. These species were only common as saplings and small trees in the complete absence of ungulate browsing. The results of this study suggest that red deer will need to be culled to low densities to assure regeneration of palatable tree species in Pureora Forest.