Deer-mediated ecosystem service vs. disservice depends on forest management intensity - Dataset Public Deposited

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  • This dataset consists of planted crop-tree growth metrics (Pseudotsuga menziesii), non-crop tree vegetation metrics, and foraging data for black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) and Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis rooseveli) collected from the Intensive Forest Management experiment, Oregon Coast Range, USA, 2011-2016. The objective of the experiment was to quantify the effects of silvicultural herbicide treatments on biodiversity and ecosystem functions.
  • MANUSCRIPT ABSTRACT As global terrestrial biodiversity declines via land-use intensification, society has placed increasing value on non-commercialspecies as providers of ecosystem services. Yet, many deer species and non-crop plants are perceived negatively when they decrease crop productivity, leading to reduced economic gains and human-wildlife conflict. We hypothesized that deer provide an ecosystem service in forest plantations by controlling competition and promoting crop-tree growth, although the effects of herbivory may depend on forest management intensity. If management negatively affects foraging habitat at local and landscape scales, then we expected browsing to shift to less-palatable crop trees. To test these hypotheses, we established a 5-year experiment that manipulated early forest management intensity via herbicide treatments and access of two deer species to vegetation via exclosures. Contrary to our hypothesis, deer provided an ecosystem service at high management intensities and a disservice occurred with low-intensity management. Crop-tree growth and survival was greatest when herbivory and herbicides suppressed broadleaf regeneration. In contrast, crop-tree growth was lowest when broadleaf vegetation was retained and crop-trees were subject to both browse damage and competition. We found a positive, yet variable, association between deer detections and stand- and landscape-scale broadleaf habitat, and despite initial reductions in forage, herbivory pressure was similar among management intensities. When broadleaf vegetation was suppressed by herbicides and herbivory, selection of herbaceous forage by deer intensified, likely aiding in the service. Overall, our findings indicate that the effects of vegetation management for promoting timber production are highly dependent on the presence of large herbivores. Synthesis and applications: Although deer are thought to reduce crop productivity in many systems, we found that herbivory switched from reducing crop tree growth where non-crop vegetation was retained, to promoting crop tree growth when both herbivory and herbicides suppressed competing vegetation. However, the provision of this ecosystem service is likely contingent on the amount of forage available in the landscape and subsequent foraging pressure. We conclude that nature’s capacity to provide ecosystem services depends on the intensity of management at local and landscape scales.
  • Keywords: Elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti); Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus); Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
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  • Stokely, T. D. (2019). Deer-mediated ecosystem service vs. disservice depends on forest management intensity - Dataset (Version 1) [Data set]. Oregon State University.
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  • Funding was provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant (AFRI-2009-04457, AFRI-2015-67019-23178), the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc., the Oregon Forest Industries Council, and the Oregon State University College of Forestry (Giustina Family Research grant, Noble fund, Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests grant, Dean’s fund and Institute for Working Forest Landscapes).
Additional Information
  • These data were used in the analysis for the manuscript titled: "Deer-mediated ecosystem service vs. disservice depends on forest management intensity", published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.



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