Sika deer (Cervus nippon) sometimes cause extensive damage to planted tree seedlings. To evaluate the effects of culling on the spatial distribution patterns of sika deer and browse damage to planted seedlings, we compared the data collected before and after experimental culling in a cool, temperate, mixed forest on Kyushu Island, Japan. Experimental culling, conducted in an area of 1 km2, removed five, four and two sika deer in April, June and October 2011, respectively. During the year before culling, the spatial pattern of the number of sika deer caught on camera corresponded to the predicted sika deer density. Sika deer immediately browsed planted seedlings after the initial planting. The cumulative number of browsed seedlings increased over time, especially in winter. The spatial pattern of the cumulative number of sika deer caught on camera corresponded to that of browsed seedlings at the year’s end. During the year when culling was conducted, the number of sika deer caught on camera decreased around the center of the study site where the culling was conducted and the number of browsed seedlings decreased. During the year following culling, the cumulative number of browsed seedlings was very similar to that in the year before the culling, while the same low number of sika deer was caught on camera. These results indicate that the effects of deer culling resulted in decreased levels of sika deer appearance and browse damage for more than 1 year and for several months, respectively.
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