Walter Buck

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management

Committee Chair

David McGill

Committee Co-Chair

Anne Hairston-Strang

Committee Member

Jingjing Liang


White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have the potential to change forest community dynamics by affecting the persistence of individual tree species and altering overstory composition. We evaluated the Baltimore City Reservoir Watershed Forests Deer Exclosure Study for a better understanding of the effects of over-browsing in this hardwood forest. The study examined the effects of deer browsing over a ten year period, using 20 fenced deer exclosure plots (8x8 feet), paired with unfenced reference control plots. Tree seedling and sapling abundance was compared between the fenced deer exclosure plots and the unfenced control plots over the ten year period. Total tree species recorded were more abundant in the fenced exclosure plots, but the difference was not significant. Oak species (Quercus spp.) however, were significantly greater in abundance with the fenced exclosure plot treatments. Our findings suggest that chronic deer herbivory is affecting oak regeneration and may threaten canopy recruitment of oak species in this closed canopy watershed forest.;Understanding the role of deer in forest community dynamics is important in the development of forest management policies and fulfillment of watershed conservation goals. Our assessment of the findings from the Baltimore City Reservoir Watershed Forests Deer Exclosure Study could contribute to a better understanding of the potential impacts from deer at these important watershed forests.