For your Woodland Grazing Plan to meet your management objectives, you need to know the current impact of wild herbivores on your woodland.
It is possible that goats, hares or rabbits may be present. Deer will almost certainly be present and may even be present if the woodland is deer-fenced. When working out your woodland grazing regime you must have an idea of how many deer there are in the wood and how many deer you hope to have during the lifetime of the grazing plan. It is not essential to have a formal deer management plan but it would be very useful and it may be required if you are applying for grant assistance.
The minimum you will need in order to complete your Woodland Grazing Plan is a good idea of current deer numbers.
Useful information on deer management
- The NatureScot website provides information on deer and deer management. Their best practice website has a wealth of information on deer management and how to go about developing a deer management plan.
- Forest Research has a bibliography of information on deer impacts and management. See Impacts of large herbivores on woodlands - Publications
- Forest Research also has a guide to sampling methods and counting deer in How many deer – a guide to estimating deer population size
- Forestry Commission Bulletin 128 is a guide to Estimating deer abundance in woodlands: the combination plot technique
Relative impacts of stock and wild herbivores
If your wood is already grazed by livestock it may not be easy to work out the relative impacts of stock and wild herbivores. The guidance notes below will give you more information to help with this process.
- Considering the likely impact of deer when putting together a managed grazing project
- Flowchart to help distinguish between browsing by different mammal species
- Indicators of the presence of different mammal species
- Method of feeding, dietary preferences and habitat effects of different species of large, grazing herbivore
- The impact of deer on woodland biodiversity
- The effects of mammalian herbivores on natural regeneration of upland native woodland