Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A method for the early detection of vegetation degradation caused by Sika deer.

Abstract

Feeding by invasive Sika deer (Cervus nippon Temminck) causes severe damage to natural vegetation, especially on the forest floor. Although several studies have examined the effects of Sika deer, few have focussed on the early stages of deer invasion. Here, we examine the effects of Sika deer feeding on forest floors in Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan, which are in the early stages of deer invasion. We established five deer exclosure fences and monitored differences in vegetation inside and outside the fences from 2010 to 2014. We found clear differences between vegetation inside and outside the exclosures at some sites, but not at others. Thus, our approach was partially effective at detecting the early effects of feeding by Sika deer. Commencing management efforts in the early stages of invasion is a cost-effective strategy for minimizing damage to natural vegetation. Our approach will aid in detecting vegetation damage and establishing a management plan in the early stages of Sika deer invasion.