Forestry regeneration report released with focus on deer browse impact

The study, focused on northern hardwoods, reports on more than 40 counties

MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has reported on the first three years of a study of natural regeneration of Wisconsin forests, with significant emphasis on the impacts of deer browse in counties with large forested areas.

The study was particularly focused on regeneration of northern hardwoods, oak and hickory, and red, white and jack pine. Wisconsin forests rely on regeneration to regrow the forest after harvests or natural events like storms or fires.

A helpful video describing how the study was conducted can be watched at: The study released reports for more than 40 counties can be found there as well.

The study was requested by the Natural Resources Board to help sort out deer browse impacts by county. The study began gathering data in 2018 of regeneration on land harvested within the previous three years.

Eighteen counties were found to have widespread and chronic regeneration risk based on several factors, including regeneration success and deer population density.

The county studies are intended to assist County Deer Advisory Councils (or CDAC’s), by providing one factor in deer management. Focus groups were held with CDAC’s to help plan the study.

The study intends to revisit the same stands every three years to update regeneration information and reevaluate standards and thresholds, according to Brian Anderson, a forest resource analyst with the DNR. The DNR would like to add more recently forested stands, particularly those in private ownership. The results will help in assessing silvicultural solutions.

Private landowners can suggest recently harvested stands for the study by contacting DNR foresters Brian Anderson at or Brad Hutnick at Hutnick said that stands within the first year after harvest are particularly important, but that contact would still be valuable regarding stands harvested in the following 2-3 years.

Hutnick said that the study may lead to regeneration targets for different regional types of forest stands, but said that would not likely occur at the county level.

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