Modelling forage potential for red deer: A case study in post-disturbance young stands of rowan


  • J. Pajtík National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 22, 960 92 Zvolen, Slovak Republic; Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Kamýcká 176, 165 21 Praha 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic
  • B. Konôpka National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 22, 960 92 Zvolen, Slovak Republic; Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Kamýcká 176, 165 21 Praha 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic
  • M. Bošeľa National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 22, 960 92 Zvolen, Slovak Republic; Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Kamýcká 176, 165 21 Praha 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic
  • V. Šebeň National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 22, 960 92 Zvolen, Slovak Republic
  • P. Kaštier National Forest Centre, Forest Research Institute Zvolen, T. G. Masaryka 22, 960 92 Zvolen, Slovak Republic



Cervus elaphus, Sorbus aucuparia, browsing, bark stripping, feed potential


Recently, the red deer (Cervus elaphus) population has increased considerably and caused serious damage in forest stands in Slovakia as well as in other Central-European countries. Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) is the tree species that is most intensively browsed and stripped by deer, especially during young stages of tree development. Our research focuses on estimating rowan mass consumption by red deer in young stands which developed after large-scale wind disturbance that occurred in the Tatra National Park in 2004. New models were developed for estimating the mass of tree components that are potentially edible by red deer using tree-base diameter as an independent variable. The results showed that the mass contribution of particular tree components to accessible deer forage depended on tree size (tree-base diameter). At stand level, total forage potential increased with an increase in tree size. However, whereas the quantity of bark available for stripping increased with tree size, the total mass accessible for browsing (leader shoot and branches with foliage) decreased. For instance, the contribution of stem bark to total forage potential in stands with a mean tree-base diameter of 20 mm and 50 mm was 15% and 50%, respectively. Theoretically, if all tree mass potential is consumed by red deer, young rowan stands (considering tree coverage of 50%) growing within an area of 100 m2 might provide sufficient forage for one adult deer for ca. 10 days. It is suggested that rowan species should not be removed from forest stands in territories with a high deer population in order to decrease the potential damage of other, commercially important, tree species.


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Research article