White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations and harvests of white-tailed deer have increased dramatically in the eastern United States on public and private lands during the 20th century (Porter 1992, Kroll 1994). Recognition of the impacts of deer on ecosystem components (deCalesta 1997) and controversy over management of deer populations (Porter 1992, Witmer and deCalesta 1992) have also increased. In the past, deer density was managed to provide an optimal and sustainable number of deer for harvest. However, with the advent of ecosystem management and its emphasis on management of all resources (Salwasser 1992, 1994; Christenson et al. 1996; Goodland and Daly 1996) we were required to abandon the single-species approach to deer management. We propose a framework for extending the single-species concept of carrying capacity to a more inclusive model for integrating management of deer with that of other ecosystem components.
deCalesta, David S.; Stout, Susan L. 1997. Relative deer density and sustainability: a conceptual framework for integrating deer management with ecosystem management. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 25(2): 252-258.