The trouble with deer: Our forests are degraded, but are deer or people to blame?

Lorraine Ash
PC Region: 
New Jersey
All is not well in New Jersey’s forests. “We have some of the highest deer densities anywhere in this part of Morris County,” said Michael Catania, president of Schiff Natural Lands Trust. “We should be down to 15 to 25 per square mile.” The lower number would allow for balance. The deer would browse the native herbaceous greenery in the forest understory, but not to the point of eradicating it as they are now. When deer eat native plants, they allow invasive plants to take hold, disturbing the ecology of the forest, according to Emile DeVito, manager of science and stewardship for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.