Cumberland Plateau deer population increase is affecting region's forests

A deer forages near the water Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at Harrison Bay State Park.
photo A deer forages near the water Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at Harrison Bay State Park.

photo A deer forages near the water Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at Harrison Bay State Park.

Biologists at Sewanee: The University of the South have known for years through anecdotes that the Cumberland Plateau's deer population is increasing and that it may be affecting the surrounding ecosystem.

Now they have data documenting the trend and how it is altering the unique physical features of the plateau.

Researchers from the university compared sapling density in 2012 and 2015, finding that deer are reducing the number of young trees in the area and pinpointing where the impact is greatest.

Their