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Regeneration of Forest Vegetation in Response to Browsing by Moose and Deer: An Experimental Approach Using Exclosures

Aerial view of exclosures for moose/deer browsing experiment.


August 2007 - December 2027


In cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Harvard Forest, and several other groups, we have built 16 sets of experimental exclosures to monitor the response of forest vegetation in relation to browsing by moose and deer. Each site has two 20x20 m fenced treatments (full exclosure with fencing to the ground, and a partial exclosure with fencing two feet off the ground to allow access to deer but not moose) and an unfenced control. We have documented varying responses of woody vegetation based on treatment in the first few years of the experiment. Our goal is to see that this experiment continues for at least the next few decades.

Research Products and Activities

Technical Publications

  • DeStefano, S., E. Faison, J. Compton, and D. Wattles. 2010. Forest exclosures: an experimental approach to understanding browsing by moose and deer. Massachusetts Wildlife 60:14-23.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 5

Phd Students: 11

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 1

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 71

Scientific Publications: 36

Presentations: 152



Funding Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Unit Program
  • Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation


Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
  2. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. University of Massachusetts
  6. Wildlife Management Institute