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Intensive herbivory by white-tailed deer has plagued Valley Forge National Historical Park’s forests since the early 1980s. A deer management plan was enacted to reduce the size of the herd by at least 1000 deer over the next two years. The goal of my research was to model the impacts of changing levels of deer herbivory on the forests. I developed a forest model using data from a large deer exclosure erected in the park in the late 1980s. I am using the model to simulate how changes in herbivory and disturbance may affect forest composition over the next 120 years. My results suggest that changes in herbivory may be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for restoring forests to their historical state. The finished model will serve as a tool for the park’s resource managers to use in developing long-term restoration plans.

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Meghan Blumstein
Researcher

Andrea Lloyd
Sponsor & Professor of Biology

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