It's not the best, but thought I would share the finished literature review
The Need for Human Intervention on Deer
“Due to a lack of natural predators, deer need to be managed” (Woodlands, 2008). With a humane, responsible and sensitive approach (Deer Initiative, Not dated) via human intervention, deer population numbers can be successfully maintained. If deer are left without human intervention populations can rise to a point where serious damage is being caused to woodlands, crops and environmentally sensitive areas (Deer Initiative, Not Dated) in which large economic losses can occur.
It is argued that the management of deer is and isn’t needed, depending upon in which the review will research. Deer are managed for a number of reasons (Ratcliffe et al, 1992) depending upon what is wanted from the deer;
- Reduction of Numbers - protection of crops and environment
- Population restructuring – density, age, sex structure
- Venison Production
- Sporting Facilities
- Preservation and Protection of Deer
Reduction of Numbers
In the last decade, there has been serious impacts on woodland regeneration throughout Britain, because of the increase in deer numbers (Fuller et al, 2001). It is argued that deer are capable of inflicting major economic losses in forestry and agriculture. Selectively foraging deer can severely affect the growth and survival of certain flora (Côte et al, 2004). In these situations, a management policy must be undertaken to prevent further damages.
Ecological changes in British woods are occurring due to intensified grazing by deer (Fuller et al, 2001). The changes in broadleaved and coniferous woodlands, recorded by surveys in Britain, suggest that during the 1990s important environmental gains were made (Haines-Young et al, 2000). Most important to the ecological changes was the 5% increase in broadleaved woodlands. The increase in trees and new shoots are prime food for deer in Britain, and with increasing populations will have a negative effect on the regeneration of woodlands.
Looking only from a business point of view, the deer numbers must be reduced, especially in timber production businesses.
From browsing, deer can greatly reduce timber quality, resulting in the trees producing multiple leading shoots (Ratcliffe et al, 1992), which will then affect the overall value of the timber produced.
To counteract the losses, a very basic management plan is put in place. The plan would consist of nearly all deer to be humanely culled, until the population reaches a tolerable level.
It is easy to see why this management method is most frowned upon, as nothing else is taken into account apart from get rid of the deer.
This management method goes much more in depth than other methods. It takes into account population density, ages of the deer, and sex structure. This method enables the deer manager to tailor what is wanted from the deer.
It is argued that when deer population densities become overpopulated, woodland damage becomes excessive. Similar applies to low deer population densities, as there is not enough grazing and browsing of flora and most becomes over grown. Sustained heavy grazing and browsing has a general effect of reducing the richness of the woodland biological communities (Fuller et al, 2001). Though it is argued that if intermediate levels of deer pressure are maintained, the results will be beneficial to the woodland. This can be continued through successfully managing the population structure.
An interesting and unique study was undertaken on the Isle of Rum, to find whether or not deer management had any influence on the vegetation (Virtanen et al, 2002). Different deer management policies are assigned to different areas on the island. The management policies were based on changing densities, sex ratios and another area where the population would manage itself. The aim of this study was to test whether changes in deer density and sex ratio through different culling policies, had any measureable short to medium term impacts on the vegetation structure.
Grant, Hamilton and Souter (1981) also argued that with having large densities of hinds, the reduction of calluna vulgaris (common heather) was much greater than that of larger densities of stags.
On heathland areas, grazing can help maintain a wide range of flora, but also support nature conservation (Virtanen et al, 2002). Once deer densities get too high, management through population restructuring would commence, to maintain and maximise the conservational value.
Preservation and Protection of Deer
“Animal welfare has been an increasingly significant issue” (Thomas, 1986, p-19) and is the view that The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) takes towards deer management. Even though there are no given reasons, the LACS believe deer populations should manage themselves with no human intervention (LACS, 2010). Across Somerset and Devon the LACS owns 36 areas of land (LACS, 2009), in particular, the Baronsdown Sanctuary, near Dulverton in Somerset. The sanctuary has large numbers of red deer congregating on the land, with a no input management policy (LACS, 2010).
On this very ‘sanctuary’ dozens of deer are dying of starvation and disease, due to the refusal of any culling (Foggo, 2002).
Sporting Facilities and Venison Production
It is rightly believed that using deer for solely sporting facilities, especially trophy hunting, is frowned upon. Using deer for these purposes usually integrates within other management methods. Most venison production comes from the does/hinds as to bucks/stags. This is due to the bucks/stags using most of their energy throughout the rutting period, travelling and fighting other males for territory and end up in poor condition. Therefore the sporting and venison side of management comes as an extra, which also acts as a bonus for the deer manager.
In conclusion, a wild deer population, if left to manage itself will continue to grow. This will continue until a food shortage or social behaviour triggers regulatory mechanisms causing a balance between mortality and emigration of deer from the area. Although this balance would not be reached until a heavy impact on the habitat and condition of the deer has lowered. This shows a basic need for human intervention to sustain deer populations and maintain Britain’s woodlands. The deer therefore will benefit from these policies, due to keeping pressure levels acceptable and health conditions high.
What are your thoughts??