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Interested in helping monitor the impacts of deer on forest vegetation? Become an AVID volunteer!



Be AVID about forest health! Announcing the Assessing Vegetation Impacts from Deer (AVID) program Become a volunteer! Visit our website at avid.umn.edu for more information! Deer are a keystone species across Minnesota’s woodlands. They are considered a keystone species because when there are high deer populations, the composition and structure of the forest can change. Deer prefer tree species like pines and maples, but will also avoid certain plants. When there are deer present in a woodland they will browse the species that are preferred or palatable. So if there are high populations of deer in an area, the plants that they prefer will get more heavily browsed which can lead to other plants (that deer don’t like) outcompeting and taking over. Given the influence the size of deer populations can have on woodlands, it is important to monitor vegetation impacts from deer. If populations of deer are too large, it can put stress on important and economically and ecologically valuable tree species. While deer will likely not impact large trees that can be used for timber they can impact the next generation of trees. If seedlings and saplings are heavily browsed they can not mature and become a new generation of trees. Without that regeneration, it can open resources for other species and even invasive species, which can result in changes in woodland composition. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how deer populations impact Minnesota woodlands, which is why University of Minnesota Extension is starting a citizen science program where volunteers will assess the vegetation impact of deer, called AVID. To get involved you can sign up for one of our upcoming workshops in May or June where you will learn more about the impact deer have on forest health and how to set up plots and get started as a volunteer!

You can visit avid.umn.edu for more information about AVID and all the things the program has to offer!

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