Deer are considered overabundant throughout much of eastern North America, with documented impacts including reduced tree regeneration, lowered abundance and flowering of native spring flora and prairie forbs, and changes in vegetation structure--impacts that may sometimes feel as if Godzilla is on the loose. However, deer management continues to be controversial in parks and natural areas, where the tax-paying public often loves "Bambi," enjoys watching deer, and may prefer a "let nature take its course" approach to management. Where does the deer problem rank among many conservation challenges, ranging from habitat fragmentation to invasives? This roundtable discussion will include brief presentations from managers who have confronted deer management issues, followed by discussion among all workshop participants on whether and how deer should be managed.
Jacqueline Courteau is a freelance ecological consultant and writer/editor who has worked for Michigan Natural Features Inventory and taught adjunct at University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University. Her research and consulting work has included ecological assessment and monitoring, forest regeneration, deer impacts on vegetation and other plant-animal interactions, invasive species in a range of Michigan ecosystems for clients including Huron River Watershed Council, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Washtenaw County Parks, and Ann Arbor Natural Areas Program. Before coming to Michigan and earning a Ph.D. in ecology, she worked as a science and environmental policy analyst in Washington, DC, contributing to an early 1990s report to Congress on how global change could affect natural resources and how Federal agencies could plan for an uncertain climate.
Invited panelists will include representatives from Meridian Township in Michigan, Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and academic researchers.