Deer management for resilient future forests

Across the forest sector in Europe there is broad consensus that resilient forests should regenerate naturally with multiple and different (and site specific) tree species. The more diversity in the regeneration, the better. With a forest use that follows natural processes. By these means, ecological and economic risks are reduced.

Across the forest sector in Europe there is also broad consensus that unbalanced deer densities have a negative effect on tree species composition through selective browsing, bark stripping and fraying.

However, there exists a conflict of interest in different European countries since many years: Should high deer densities for easier hunting be preferred – or should lower deer densities for forest development be favoured? A new dimension is added to this discussion when focusing on biodiversity. Biodiversity of forest systems is seen as an insurance and pre-requisite for resilience with regards to expected climate change. Considering that new dimension, the discussion exceeds the level of forest owner interests vs. hunting interests, it becomes a complex topic for society.

African Swine Fever, wild boars and nervous German farmers – no easy solutions for man-made problems

by Frank Krumm & Johanna Strieck & Gesche Schifferdecker

The German Farmers Association (DBV) demands a 70 percent reduction of the wild boar population, after the African Swine Fever is threatening to cross borders in eastern Germany. In case of an outbreak, German pig farmers will face severe economic consequences, as they are the ones with the most to lose. DBV’s vice president Werner Schwarz explains, that the farmers will have to stop exporting pork products to third-member countries, meaning non-EU members. This will cause for substantial losses in the export sector, possibly amounting to billions of Euros.
Consequently, this sparked an outcry from the DBV. The Swine Fever, like many other diseases, thrives on high host density, so that a radical population reduction in wild boars is the only logical answer according to Schwarz.  This demand is not only drastic but also rather unrealistic, knowing the animals and their intelligent and strong population dynamics.