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How a simple number can make the forest- game debate more objective

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Wild ungulates, such as red deer, roe deer and chamois, feed on buds, needles and the shoots of young trees in winter. The forest may, under some circumstances, have difficulty re­covering from such browsing. The so-called ‘browsing percent’ is used to measure the ratio between browsed and undamaged trees in a particular area. If the number of plants is increased or the population of wild ungulates reduced, proportionally fewer plants will be browsed. The new WSL Fact Sheet on the use of the browsing percent in game manage­ment shows how this parameter can be simply measured and used to estimate the level of browsing damage in an area in order to see how effective over the years the adopted measures have been. Even though the browsing percent can be influenced by foresters, as well as hunters and others using the forest, it helps to make the ‘forest-and-game’ discussions more objective. The Fact Sheet is available as a PDF in German and French on WSL’s website. (Martin Moritzi, Diagonal 2/18)