White-tailed deer, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia.
Editor’s Note: Conversions of the number of deer per square kilometer to deer per square mile in the print version of this article were made in error. They have been corrected in this online version of the article and in the other formats of this edition (i.e., PDF, ASCII text, and RTF), available for downloading from the archive page.
Manassas National Battlefield Park is located on the northern tip of the Piedmont Plateau, within the Culpepper Basin, a large Mesozoic trough extending north from the central Piedmont (Fleming and Weber 2003). The park is located approximately 4 km (2.5 mi) northwest of Manassas, Virginia, and 42 km (26 mi) west of Washington, DC. The park comprises 2,111 ha (5,212 acres) of which 839 ha (2,073 acres) are forest, varying from early successional stands of Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana) to relatively mature oak-hickory and bottomland hardwood forests (Fleming and Weber 2003). Hay fields, abandoned fields, and a high-use administrative area account for 1,215 ha (3,000 acres) of the park. The mosaic of woodlands and fields is ideal habitat for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus, fig. 1). Lands adjacent to the southern and eastern boundaries of the park consist of residential areas; for now, lands adjacent to the western and northern boundaries of the park remain relatively undeveloped. Development is proceeding at a rapid pace and the battlefield park is becoming an oasis. Whitetailed deer densities in the park are high, at about 1 deer per 4 acres (63.4 ± 7.7 deer/km2, estimated in fall 2000–2004 using spotlight counts with distance sampling; Bates 2005). All forests within the park have a prominent browse line (fig. 2).
“The mosaic of woodlands and fields is ideal habitat for white-tailed deer.”
Gorsira, B., C. R. Rossell Jr., and S. Patch. Effects of white-tailed deer on vegetation structure and woody seedling composition at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia. Park Science 24(1):40–47.
Available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/ParkScience/archive/PDF/Article_PDFs/ParkScience24(1)Summer2006_40-47_Gorsira_et_al_2521.pdf.