The Potomac Highlands Watershed School
High School Environmental Forum
The Forest's POV
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The Forest POV
HHS Combs, Huff, & Barry
I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees.
I speak for the trees, ‘cause no tree has a tongue,
By deer they are eaten, left open to disease,
Unless they are stopped, they will have no more young.
The deer they dislike, for trees they outnumber,
Too many trees made by deer now to slumber,
They eat many seeds and all acorns that fall.
How now can trees grow, if they’re eaten when small?
Now I can tell you that I know ONE way,
But before you can decide, listen to all that I say.
Since nature has long kept balance on her own,
I think it only fitting, that she retain the throne.
Not by fences, or reseeding, or hunting can she thrive,
The forest, as always, needs new life to survive,
Deer they once hunted, with skill like Orion,
Again nature cries “Wolf! and Mountain lion!”
-- A poem by Combs, Huff, & Barry
I, the forest, am here to adress the problem of deer overpopulation. Thanks to an astounding number of deer within my Hampshire County borders, both biodiversity and forest quality are experiencing a sharp decline.
The deer are so overabundant that they eat all of their available resources and more. Deer starvation runs rampant and vegitation is dissapearing.
A solution is needed quickly. I can recall a time when the deer population was controlled naturally, by large predators such as wolves and mountain lions. I believe that it is time to return these former denizens to my trees.
As my mother nature has shown for millenia, the keeping of balance is best left to nature itself. According to an article on www.sciencedaily.com, the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park reduced elk overpopulation and allowed overgrazed vegetation to recover. "Benefits of this new plant growth include more habitat for birds and more plant food for beaver," Ripple, an ecologist studying wolves' effect on Yellowstone explained. "The number of beaver in northern Yellowstone has increased dramatically since wolves were reintroduced." Also, in a National Geographic article, researchers claim that a reintroduction of wolves and mountain lions would decrease the loss of a large portion of the natural ginseng crop, which is currently in danger from ridiculous deer populations.
As we stand by countless populations of deer are showing declines in health. As time passes there is no evidence showing this will decrease but however increase if our course of action is not planned now. The health of trees, shrubs, and herbivorous plants is suffering as wel due to the over populated deer. Some species are slowly dieing out. If the reintroduction of natural predators does not occur soon, irrepairable damage may occur to the forest ecosystems of Hampshire County.
Mystik and Amanda, APES, Berkeley, POV – Forest
The deer population has outgrown the carrying capacity of the forest. There are too many deer to feed. Deer eat approximately 5-7 pounds of vegetation per day (Agronomist William Grafton, WVU). That is a lot of food and there are many other animals in the forest that need food too. There are rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, bears, and more. All these animals need food – a lot of the same food that deer need. They are competing for a limited amount of resources. The forest cannot supply all this food when the animals are consuming at an unsustainable rate. They are consuming faster than the trees can grow back, leaving no seedlings that will replace older trees. This is mostly caused by the exploding population of deer. Without vegetation, the forest will begin to die.
At the current deer population, the estimation by USEPA stated that about 67 deer per square mile, many more deer than will allow regeneration to occur. This statement was the estimate in 1998 for the Hardy County’s Lost River Watershed.
Foresters have put up deer fences to block out the deer from eating up all the vegetation. Deer can not get in the deer fences. Due to this, other animals are able to eat the food and the ecosystem can be better balanced.
Deer fences also demonstrate the damage that deer cause to the trees. A healthy forest has tall trees and lush undergrowth and vegetation. It should have a good amount of seedlings popping up to replace the older trees. The high population of deer has caused shorter trees as they eat them and less biodiversity in the forest as they eat the seedlings leaving few to replace the older trees. The difference between a healthy forest and a forest that has a high population of deer can be seen by observing the undergrowth. Deer fences show this by taking an area ravaged by deer and allowing it to grow, the image of a healthy forest. By doing this an area where deer have done damage in order to research the damage done by deer.
The deer are a necessity in my ecosystem, but at current levels they are overrunning my regenerative capabilities. Something needs to be done to control the deer population. If actions are not taken then the forest will be left unhealthy, unable to regrow.
HHS, Environmental Science, Group 5 Cleaver, Corbin, Palmer, Parsons, Sharpless
POV the forest Submitted 10/31/2005
We, the forest, are here to address the problem of deer overpopulation. Since there is such a large number of deer in Hampshire County, the forest quality is experiencing a decline. Personally we think something needs to be done about the deer overpopulation, our peers of HHS think that we should bring in "Wolves and Mountain Lions" just to help control the deer population. But we think that the wolves and mountain lions might not only kill the deer, but also kill domestic animals and maybe even you! So to help control our deer population we should extend our hunting seasons.
O'Neal School, Env. Science, Group IV, Posted 11/08/2005
As the forest we are very concerned about the overpopulation of deer. They are causing a major decline in the forest quality. The amount of deer inhabiting the forest has grown to so large a number that it is no longer supportable by our environment. On average, deer consume 5 lbs of food a day, which leaves little or no vegetation for other animals in the forest. There are so many deer that they are competing for limited resources, which causes deer to eat from other food sources, such as farms, and ultimately destroy those plants and the environment with it. One main problem that has resulted in a sky-rocketing deer population is the lack of natural predators, such as bobcats and coyotes. Introducing these animals to areas in which deer live may bring down the population, although it can cause a decline in other species as well. In addition, the increase in human development is taking away the deer's land, which is another reason for such an increase in deer population. Perhaps it is not the deer that are overpopulated, but the human race. Deer can also be killed off by hunters, especially during the current hunting season. Also, diseases, such as CWD, or chronic wasting disease, can be a major aid in decreasing the amount of deer. Although deer are important to our environment, at their present population they are doing more harm than good, and must therefore be suppressed, so that forests can rejuvenate themselves once again.