Deer impacts on orchids in central Maryland (Catoctin Mountains)

[gleaned from an email, 4th hand, but good info]

The results of this 41-year study show a precipitous decline in 19 of the 21 species of Orchids known from the Catoctin Mountains .  Annual census data at 167 sites from throughout the Catoctin Mountains on protected and unprotected lands (private and public) show a loss of three species from the study area, a decline of >90 % (ranging from 99 to 91 %) in seven species, and a decline of <90 % (ranging from 51 to 87 %) for nine species. We tested the hypothesis that this decline is due to intensified herbivory by white-tailed deer. The overall orchid census data is significantly inversely-correlated (R = -0.93) to the white-tailed deer harvest data of Frederick County (a surrogate for population size), which includes the entirety of the study area.

 

A link to this paper is below. This is an Open Access paper so anyone can download, read, and reproduce it. This paper documents a trend many have witnessed in adjacent State and regions. Please pass this paper on to our various conservation partners.

 

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-014-0698-2

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