Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

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

August 2007 - December 2027


Participating Agencies

  • Cooperative Research Unit Program
  • Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Aerial view of exclosures for moose/deer browsing experiment.

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 Publications Publication Date
Faison, E. K., D. R. Foster, and S. DeStefano. 2016. Long-term deer exclusion has complex effects on a suburban forest understory. Rhodora 118:382-402. July 2016
Technical Publications Publication Date
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. April 2010
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Faison, E. F. 2015. Complex effects of ungulate browsers on tree recruitment and herbaceous layers in northeastern temperature forests. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. May 2015