Skip to Main Content
Intensive Selective Deer Browsing Favors Success of Asimina triloba (Paw Paw) a Native Tree SpeciesAuthor(s): Mitchell A. Slater; Roger C. Anderson
Source: Natural Areas Journal
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (1017.0 KB)
DescriptionAlthough white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmermann) are generalist herbivores, they can have significant effects on species composition and abundance of forest trees, especially when deer densities are high and most plant species are heavily browsed but a few are selectively avoided as browse. We evaluated effects of selective deer browsing on tree species abundance in an old-growth mesic/wet-mesic forest in central Illinois by repeated sampling of permanent study plots in 2003 and 2008 and relating changes in stem density between the two samples to the intensity of deer browsing of individual species. The study site has high deer density (75 deer km2) during winter months, and initial observations indicated that paw paw (Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal) was strongly avoided as browse. Paw paw density increased in the seedling stratum between the two sample periods. However, nearly all other tree species declined in density; blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata Michx.) – a low-use browse species, had a small increase in seedling density. Tree species diversity decreased in the seedling stratum, but not in the sapling stratum, although sapling density declined for some species. The current trajectory of tree species growth and recruitment suggests that the development of a dense paw paw understory canopy will further decrease species diversity and reduce tree species recruitment. Based on the life history traits of paw paw, and high deer densities and selective browsing, this issue is of concern for current and future forest communities.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationSlater, Mitchell A.; Anderson, Roger C. 2014. Intensive Selective Deer Browsing Favors Success of Asimina triloba (Paw Paw) a Native Tree Species. Natural Areas Journal. 34(2): 178-187. https://doi.org/10.3375/043.034.0207.
KeywordsAcer saccharum, Asimina triloba, deer herbivory, Odocoileus virginianus
- Initial tree regeneration response to natural-disturbance-based silviculture in second-growth northern hardwood forests
- Population dynamics of sugar maple through the southern portion of its range: implications for range migration
- Effects of Management on the Composition and Structure of Northern Hardwood Forests in Upper Michigan
XML: View XML