Browsing by deer produces long-term effects on both the amount and kinds of vegetation growing in the forests; over browsing can severely limit forest regeneration, contribute to economic loss and decrease bio-diversity. In the absence of natural predators, humans must actively manage deer populations to preserve forest health.
This exercise gives students an understanding of how deer browsing affects a forest by collecting one adult deer’s daily amount of food (5-9 pounds). Using clippers and a bag, each student “browses” the forest. Each student’s bag is weighed and compared to the daily consumption of one deer. Discussions center on links between deer browsing, deer food needs, and forest health.