On islands in the lower Florida Keys, endangered Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) aggregate in urban areas where deer densities are high, potentially increasing browsing impacts in these areas. To quantify impacts, we compared plant densities and diversity in hardwood hammocks located adjacent to (urban) and distant from (exurban) developed areas on islands with high (>17 deer/km2) and low (<1 deer/km2) Key deer densities. Although we detected no differences in total plant densities or diversity on islands with high densities of deer, we observed lower mean (±SE) densities of deer-preferred plant species within reach of deer in hammock stands in urban areas (84.9 ± 35.9/ha) than exurban areas (694.5 ± 428.4/ha). No such patterns were evident on islands with low deer densities. We also experimentally tested deer browsing intensity on islands of high deer density using potted plants. We found that mean (±SE) browsing pressures (measured as proportion of leaves remaining on potted plants) were higher on preferred plant species in hammocks near urban areas (0.451 ± 0.226) than exurban areas (0.591 ± 0.230). Stimuli (e.g., human handouts) that attract deer to urban locales should be controlled and further development restricted to deter heavy browsing pressures by Key deer near urban areas and to prevent degradation of state-imperiled hardwood hammock plant communities.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 70 • No. 6