Deer are native to Michigan but considered overabundant in parts of Michigan. While research through the northeastern U.S. has shown that deer can lead to decreased vegetation density and diversity, and declines in forest regeneration, debates over deer management in urban and suburban areas often demand local data on deer impacts. I will present data from various research (including exclosure studies, vegetation and browse damage surveys, and sentinel seedling tracking) in southeast Michigan parks and preserves over the past 20 years to outline deer impacts on various native plants, including trees and wildflowers. I will discuss implications for forest regeneration, pollinator interactions, and other community processes.
Jacqueline Courteau is an ecologist and independent researcher/consultant with over 20 years experience with Michigan ecosystems.