The implications of red deer grazing to ground vegetation and invertebrate communities of Scottish native pinewoods

  • Published source details Baines D., Sage R.B. & Baines M.M. (1994) The implications of red deer grazing to ground vegetation and invertebrate communities of Scottish native pinewoods. Journal of Applied Ecology, 31, 776-783.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove, control or exclude vertebrate herbivores

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Remove, control or exclude vertebrate herbivores

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1991–1992 in eight pinewoods in the Scottish Highlands, UK (Baines et al. 1994) found that excluding red deer Cervus elaphus increased the abundance of moth and butterfly caterpillars. In plots where deer were excluded, or present at lower density, the abundance of caterpillars (30–440 individuals/plot) was higher than in forest where deer were present at higher density (10–325 individuals/plot). Two of the four most common species (July highflyer moth Hydriomena furcata and twin spot carpet Perizoma didymata) were more abundant in exclosures with no deer (July highflyer: 32–44; twin spot: 43–57 individuals/plot) than in forest with deer (July highflyer: 10–11; twin spot: 13–16 individuals/plot), but the abundance of the other two most common species was similar between plots (winter moth Operophtera brumata (no deer: 5–20; deer: 4–10 individuals/plot) and grey mountain carpet Entephria caesiata (no deer: 2–5; deer: 1–4 individuals/plot)). In each of eight forests, three pairs of plots with different deer densities were monitored. In five forests, deer exclosures (no deer) were compared to open forest (11–16 deer/km), but in the other three forests, plots were compared between sporting estates with different deer management policies (low density: 3–10 deer/km; high density: 11–20 deer/km). Between mid-May and early June 1991 and 1992, caterpillars were sampled by sweep-netting once/plot (125 sweeps covering 10 m2).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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