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The Battle for Suburbia: Deer and Invasive Plants

Forests in suburban landscapes face the dual challenge of overabundant white-tailed deer and invasion by non-native plants. This combination influences the abundance and diversity of the understory plant community, including tree seedlings that are the future forest canopy. To test the strength of these factors, a field experiment has been running since 2013 in six forests in Central New Jersey that differ in deer pressure. Plant community responses to the combination of deer exclosure versus access and varying levels of non-native plant invasion are revealing striking differences between natives versus non-natives, and between woody versus herbaceous species.

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The Battle for Suburbia: Deer and Invasive Plants