The Frost Valley Natural Resources and Environmental Science Department has recently begun gathering data for an ongoing study being carried out through a collaborative effort by Cornell University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The project is called AVID. This is an acronym that stands for Assessing Vegetation Impacts from Deer.

Measuring the impact of deer browse on forest vegetation is of great interest to the Natural Resources team. A major overarching focus of the Natural Resources department is to ensure that the forest ecosystem remains in balance. We want to be sure that our forests can support a high population of wildlife with a wide diversity of species. This concept aligns perfectly with the objective of this study, and for this reason, Frost Valley has decided to become a participant in data collection. High rates of forest regeneration and large understory plant communities are major drivers in the creation of quality wildlife habitat. The term “carrying capacity” is used to describe the amount of wildlife that an area of land can support. Carrying capacity for a given species depends on a variety of factors – the availability of food and cover being chief among them. The information gathered through this project will help the NYS DEC to gain a greater understanding of carrying capacities in different regions across the state and make informed deer management decisions.

For this project, specific individual plants have been selected and tagged to be monitored. The species that was selected for monitoring on Frost Valley property was Indian Cucumber (Medeola virginiana). This is a common understory wildflower that grows widely across the Catskills. It is a species that is eaten by deer during the spring, summer and early fall. These plants will be observed yearly to determine if they have been browsed by deer. The data submitted to the DEC will provide a broader scope of understanding in regards to the ecological balance of deer populations across the state. The plants selected on Frost Valley property fall into 6 survey areas. The areas are marked with a GPS waypoint and the center of the survey area is marked with a flag.

The Frost Valley Natural Resources and Environmental Science Department is proud to participate in this statewide study!

Dan DeChellis

About the Author

Dan DeChellis

Growing up in his home state of Pennsylvania, Dan acquired a love of the outdoors at an early age. He is the Natural Resources and Environmental Science Coordinator at Frost Valley. Throughout his time at Frost Valley, Dan has worn many hats and developed a deep connection with the land. He is thrilled to be part of the management and stewardship of the place he has grown to love.

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