Journal of Forest Research

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 84–91 | Cite as

Changes in spatial patterns of sika deer distribution and herbivory of planted seedlings: a comparison before and after deer population control by culling

  • Tsutomu EnokiEmail author
  • Tsuneaki Yabe
  • Toru Koizumi
Original Article


Sika deer (Cervus nippon) sometimes cause extensive damage to planted tree seedlings. To evaluate the effects of culling on the spatial distribution patterns of sika deer and browse damage to planted seedlings, we compared the data collected before and after experimental culling in a cool, temperate, mixed forest on Kyushu Island, Japan. Experimental culling, conducted in an area of 1 km2, removed five, four and two sika deer in April, June and October 2011, respectively. During the year before culling, the spatial pattern of the number of sika deer caught on camera corresponded to the predicted sika deer density. Sika deer immediately browsed planted seedlings after the initial planting. The cumulative number of browsed seedlings increased over time, especially in winter. The spatial pattern of the cumulative number of sika deer caught on camera corresponded to that of browsed seedlings at the year’s end. During the year when culling was conducted, the number of sika deer caught on camera decreased around the center of the study site where the culling was conducted and the number of browsed seedlings decreased. During the year following culling, the cumulative number of browsed seedlings was very similar to that in the year before the culling, while the same low number of sika deer was caught on camera. These results indicate that the effects of deer culling resulted in decreased levels of sika deer appearance and browse damage for more than 1 year and for several months, respectively.


Camera trap Effect of culling Plantation experiment Seasonal and spatial pattern Sedentary deer 



We thank C. Yayota for her help with the culling and valuable comments on the manuscript. We thank H. Nomiya for his cooperation implementing our study. We are grateful to the staff of the Shiiba Research Forest, Kyushu University for their help and support during the field surveys. A project of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council of Japan designed for the promotion of scientific research techniques and to benefit the agricultural, forestry, fisheries and food industries of Japan partly supported this study (22030).


  1. Akashi N, Nakashizuka T (1999) Effects of bark-stripping by Sika deer (Cervus nippon) on population dynamics of a mixed forest in Japan. For Ecol Manag 113:75–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akashi N, Terazawa K (2005) Bark stripping damage to conifer plantation in relation to the abundance of sika deer in Hokkaido, Japan. For Ecol Manag 208:77–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akashi N, Unno A, Terazawa K (2011) Effects of deer abundance on broad-leaf tree seedling establishment in the understory of Abies sachanlinensis plantations. J For Res 16:500–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borkowski J (2000) Influence of the density of a sika deer population on activity, habitat use, and group size. Can J Zool 78:1369–1374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cho K, Enoki T, Tashiro N, Mabuchi T, Inoue S, Ogata T (2013) Efficiency and cost of nuisance deer population control in Ashoro Research Forest. Bull Kyushu Univ For 94:30–39 (in Japanese with English summary) Google Scholar
  6. Côte SD, Rooney TP, Trembla J, Dussault C, Waller DM (2004) Ecological impacts of deer overabundance. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:113–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Flueck WT (2010) Exotic deer in southern Latin America: what do we know about impacts on native deer and on ecosystems? Biol Invasions 12:1909–1922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Forestry Agency of Japan (2013) Annual report on forest and forestry in Japan: Fiscal year 2013. Appendix: 5 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  9. Fuller RJ, Gill RMA (2001) Ecological impacts of increasing numbers of deer in British woodland. Forestry 74:193–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gill RMA (1992) A review of damage by mammals in north temperate forests: 3. Impacts on trees and forests. Forestry 65:363–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hester AJ, Edenius L, Buttenshôn RM, Kuiters AT (2000) Interactions between forests and herbivores: the role of controlled grazing experiments. Forestry 73:381–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Inoue S, Koizumi T (1996) Damage of forest vegetation by sika deer in natural forests at Miyazaki Experimental Forest of Kyushu University in Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu. Kyushu J For Res 49:105–106 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  13. Ito H, Hino T (2005) How do deer affect tree seedlings on a dwarf bamboo-dominated forest floor? Ecol Res 20:121–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kabemura Y, Kubota K, Kaji K, Shiiba Y, Inoue S, Mabuchi T, Utsumi Y, Enoki T (2010) Mammals monitoring in Shiiba Research Forest. Bull Kyushu Univ For 91:29–33 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  15. Kamler J, Homolka M, Barančeková M, Krojerova-Prokesŏvá J (2010) Reduction of herbivore density as a tool for reduction of herbivore browsing on palatable tree species. Eur J For Res 129:155–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kishimoto Y, Fujiki D, Sakata H (2010) Management approach using simple indices of deer density and status of understory vegetation for conserving deciduous hardwood forests on a regional scale. J For Res 15:265–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koda R, Fujita N (2011) Is deer herbivory directory proportional to deer population density? Comparison of deer feeding frequencies among six forests with different deer density. For Ecol Manag 262:432–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kumar S, Shibata E (2007) Establishment and growth of coniferous seedlings in an altered forest floor after long-term exclusion of deer. J For Res 12:306–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Miura S, Tokida K (2009) Management strategy of sika deer based on sensitivity analysis. In: McCllough DR, Takatsuki S, Kaji K (eds) Sika deer: biology and management of native and introduced populations. Springer, Tokyo, pp 453–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miyaki M, Kaji K (2004) Summer forage biomass and the importance of litterfall for high-density sika deer population. Ecol Res 19:405–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Murata I, Saruki S, Kubota K, Inoue S, Tashiro N, Enoki T, Utsumi Y, Inoue S (2009a) Effects of sika deer (Cervus nippon) and dwarf bamboo (Sasamorpha borealis) on seedling emergence and survival in cool-temperate mixed forests in the Kyushu Mountains. J For Res 14:296–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Murata I, Inoue S, Yabe T, Kabemura Y, Kaji K, Kubota K, Mabuchi T, ShiibaY Utsumi Y (2009b) Sika deer density and vegetation changes for 37 years in Shiiba Research Forest. Bull Kyushu Univ For 90:13–24 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  23. Nagaike T (2012) Effects of browsing by sika deer (Cervus nippon) on subalpine vegetation at Mt. Kita, central Japan. Ecol Res 27:467–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nagaike T, Hayashi A (2003) Bark-stripping by Sika deer (Cervus nippon) in Larix kaempferi plantations in central Japan. For Ecol Manag 175:563–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nomiya H, Suzuki W, Kanazashi T, Shibata M, Tanaka H, Nakashizuka T (2002) The response of forest floor vegetation and tree regeneration to deer exclusion and disturbance in a riparian deciduous forest, central Japan. Plant Ecol 164:263–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. O’Brien TG, Kinnaird MF, Wibisono HT (2003) Crouching tigers, hidden prey: Sumatran tiger and prey populations in a tropical forest landscape. Anim Conserv 6:131–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Putman RJ (2012) Effects of heavy culling on population distribution at a landscape scale: an analytical modeling approach. Eur J Wildl Res 58:781–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Putman RJ, Duncan P, Scott R (2005) Demographic changes in Scottish red deer population (Cervus elaphus L.) in response to sustained and heavy culling: an analysis of trends in deer populations of Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve 1986-2001. For Ecol Manag 206:263–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. R Development Core Team (2011) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. ISBN 3-900051-07-0.
  30. Rooney TP (2001) Deer impacts on forest ecosystems: a North American perspective. Forestry 74:201–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rooney TP, Waller DM (2003) Direct and indirect effects of white-tailed deer in forest ecosystems. For Ecol Manag 181:165–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Suzuki M, Miyashita T, Kabaya H, Ochiai K, Asada M, Tange T (2008) Deer density affects ground-layer vegetation differently in conifer plantations and hardwood forests on the Boso Peninsula, Japan. Ecol Res 23:151–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Takatsuki S (1983) The importance of Sasa nipponica as a forage for sika deer (Cervus nippon) in Omote-Nikko. Jpn J Ecol 33:17–25Google Scholar
  34. Takatsuki S (1989) Edge effects created by clear-cutting on habitat use by sika deer on Mt. Goyo, northern Honshu, Japan. Ecol Res 4:287–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Takatsuki S (2009) Effects of sika deer on vegetation in Japan: a review. Biol Conserv 142:1922–1929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Takatsuki S, Gorai T (1994) Effects of Sika deer on the regeneration of a Fagus crenata forest on Kinkazan Island, northern Japan. Ecol Res 9:115–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tanentzap AJ, Burrows LE, Lee WG, Nugent G, Maxwell GM, Cooms DE (2009) Landscape-level vegetation recovery from herbivory: progress after four decades of invasive red deer control. J Appl Ecol 46:1064–1072CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tanentzap AJ, Kirby KJ, Goldberg E (2012) Slow response to reductions in deer (Cervidae) populations and strategies for achieving recovery. For Ecol Manag 264:159–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tsujino R, Yumoto T (2004) Effects of sika deer on tree seedlings in a warm temperate forest on Yakushima Island, Japan. Ecol Res 19:291–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ueno M, Kaji K, Saitoh T (2010) Culling verses density effects in management of a deer population. J Wildl Manag 74:1472–1483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wardle DA, Barker GM, Yeates GW, Bonner KI, Ghani A (2001) Introduced browsing mammals in New Zealand natural forests: aboveground and belowground consequences. Ecol Monogr 71:587–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Watts DE, Parker ID, Lopez RR, Silvy NJ, Davis DS (2008) Distribution and abundance of endangered Florida Key deer on outer islands. J Wildl Manag 72:360–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yabe T (1995) A fundamental study on habitat management for wildlife: habitat use of sika deer and a change in the vegetation on Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido. Res Bull Hokkaido Univ For 52:115–180Google Scholar
  44. Yabe T, Koizumi T, Endo A, Seki S, Miura Y (2001) Home ranges of sika deer in Kyushu Central Mountains. Kyushu J For Res 54:131–132 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  45. Yabe T, Toubou K, Yoshiyama K (2007) Rumen contents of sika deer in deciduous forest zone of Kyushu Mountains. Kyushu J For Res 60:99–100 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  46. Yasuda M (2004) Monitoring diversity and abundance of mammals with camera traps: a case study on Mount Tsukuba, central Japan. Mam Stud 29:37–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yayota C, Koizumi T, Enoki T (2013) Validity of culling techniques for management of overabundant sika deer. For Pests 62:258–262 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
  48. Yokoyama M, Kaji K, Suzuki M (2000) Food habits of sika deer and nutritional value of sika deer diets in eastern Hokkaido, Japan. Ecol Res 15:345–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Japanese Forest Society and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shiiba Research ForestKyushu UniversityMiyazakiJapan
  2. 2.Kyushu Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKumamotoJapan
  3. 3.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteIbarakiJapan

Personalised recommendations