Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 396–402 | Cite as

Significance of woody browse preferences in evaluating the impact of sika deer browsing on tree seedlings

  • Nobuhiro AkashiEmail author
  • Akira Unno
  • Kazuhiko Terazawa
Original Article


The growing populations of sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis) in Hokkaido, Japan, are having increasingly negative impacts on forests. Although the percentage or frequency of browsed twigs and seedlings is a useful index of the impact of deer on forests, differences in the browse preferences of deer among tree species should also be considered. We evaluated the woody browse preferences of sika deer and examined a method for evaluating deer impacts based on the occurrence of browsing scars on seedlings, together with browse preferences. We also validated the percentages of browsed seedlings irrespective of browse preferences as an index of deer impact. We measured the heights of seedlings 30–200 cm tall in five 5 × 20 m plots located in Abies sachalinensis plantations in each of seven tracts and recorded browsing damage that occurred on leader shoots of seedlings. Browse species preference was evaluated using a generalized linear model (GLM) that included the seven tracts, species, and seedling height as explanatory variables. The results of the GLM suggest that differences in browse preferences among species are continuous and cannot be categorized discretely. The tract coefficients are considered to be an index of deer impact levels and can be estimated from the percentage of browsed seedlings for a species if the species coefficient is given. Simple percentages of browsed seedlings can also be used as an index of impact level, regardless of browse preferences, though these may be inaccurate, especially when the site is dominated by significantly preferred or avoided species.


Browse preference Cervus nippon Generalized linear model Hokkaido 



This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 25450222 and the Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Environment Fund for the project “Development of assessment method on impacts by sika deer to natural vegetation for ecosystem management”.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Forest Society and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forestry Research Institute, Hokkaido Research OrganizationBibaiJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of BioindustryTokyo University of AgricultureAbashiriJapan

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