Tree shelters for oak seedlings

White-tailed deer numbers appear to be on the rise on the Holt Research Forest. This could be due to a regional increase. Superimposed on this, we may have encouraged the entry of more deer into the Holt via the small harvest gaps created in 1987. Browsing is severe enough to suggest deer have had a negative impact on oak regeneration. In 2000, Al Kimball began comparing oak sapling growth between two treatments that might commonly be used by landowners to protect oak saplings from deer: (1) Bitrex (a bitter-tasting deer-repellent) and (2) tree shelters. Tree shelters provide physical protection from deer plus a micro-environment of warmth and carbon dioxide.

Research including investigators outside the faculty and students of the College of Forestry, Natural Sciences, and Agriculture at the University of Maine

  • Since 1992 we have sent ticks collected from Holt Forest small mammals to Dr. Peter Rand and Dr. Robert Smith, Jr. of the Maine Medical Center Lyme Disease Research Lab. They are researching the the role of hosts, climate, and habitat factors affecting tick distribution in Maine.
  • Dr. Joanne M. Sharpe began a long-term study of selected fern species on the Holt Research Forest in 1999. She is doing this in the context of a termperate/tropical comparison of long-term demographic and ecological trends in ferns. Her temperate sites are in Maine, and her tropical sites include the Luquillo Experimental Forest LTER and the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, both in Puerto Rico.
  • In 1997 Genevieve Pullis and Kevin Boyle of the University of Maine Department of Resource Economics and Policy tested public perceptions of forest management activities at the Holt Research Forest. They found considerable differences among various segments of the public, but overall strong support for policies that balance timber harvesting and setting land aside from harvesting.
  • In 1990 Bill Ostrofsky of the Maine Cooperative Forestry Research Unit and Al Kimball determined that trees released by the winter 1987-88 harvest did not show increased vigor.
  • From 1993 through 1998, Nat Wheelwright of Bowdoin College assisted with a study of the reproductive effort of 15 species of herbs and shrubs.