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Individual study: Attempts to divert bark-stripping of spruce Picea abies by red deer Cervus elaphus from standing trees to felled logs and pruned trunks, Entenpfuhl and Neupfalz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Published source details

(0) Attempts to divert bark-stripping of spruce Picea abies by red deer Cervus elaphus from standing trees to felled logs and pruned trunks, Entenpfuhl and Neupfalz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Zeitschrift für Jagdwissenschaft, 27, 175-189

Summary

To reduce the loss of spruce trees Picea abies through heavy bark-stripping by red deer Cervus elaphus, tests to divert the bark stripping from standing trees to felled trunks and pruned trunks of trees (to be removed during tree thinning, and along forestry tracks), were carried out in in the forestry districts of Entenpfuhl and Neupfalz, Rhineland-Palatinate (western Germany) between 1970 and 1978. During the trials red deer density was around 4 animals/100 ha.

 

Felled trunks: Tests were carried out between 1970 and 1978. In 22, 15- to 60-year-old stands, 100 spruce/ha were felled in patches of 0.5 to 1 ha during the winter. Logs were turned to give full exposure of the bark to the deer. The percentage of bark stripped from the logs was compared to that on the standing trees within and adjacent to the test area.
Pruned trunks of trees to be removed during thinning: Tests that were carried out between 1972 and 1978. Spruce (7- to 29-year-old) trunks where pruned of lower branches (300 to 600 trunks/ha) in 10 areas. The percentage of bark stripped on pruned trees was compared to that of unpruned trunks in the surrounding forest in summer and winter each year.

Pruned trunks along forestry tracks: Tests that were carried out between 1973 and 1978. Trunks of 10- to 21-year-old spruce trees along tracks in eight areas were pruned (700-800 trunks). The percentage of bark stripped was compared to that of the unpruned trunks in summer and winter of each year.

 

 

Felled trunks: Although bark-stripping of lying logs was very heavy in parts of the trail area (up to 92%) and stripping of trees was under 5%, it was equally low (under 5%) in the control stands without lying logs.
Pruned trunks of trees to be removed during thinning: In both districts deer preferentially stripped the pruned trunks in winter (between 10% and 65%) compared to unpruned trunks (about 5%) on average). In summer, only in the district of Entenpfuhl was a slight redirecting of bark stripping apparent.

Pruned trunks along forestry tracks: In winter, between 5% and 40% of pruned trunks suffered bark-stripping compared to under 5% on unpruned trees. In summer however,  bark-stripping was much less (never exceeding 17%) being under 5% in most years, the same as observed on unprined trees.
Conclusion: Although diverting of bark stripping by pruning of trees (presumably pruning enabling the deer to access the trunks more easily) was relatively successful, especially during the winter months, it was not considered to be economically viable as the amount of time that pruning took was inhibitive.
Note: If using or referring to this published study, please quote the original paper. This German language paper, translated and summarised for Conservation Evidence, has a basic English and French abstract, and is available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/y8317r4t357x82wg/fulltext.pdf