A new study out of Penn state claims that lack of fire may be the reason for forest densification and not deer and that browsing by deer has actually slowed the densification problem. They also state that Maples are taking over because they are more shade tolerant. Fodder for the anti HR crowd? Anyway a good read. If I knew how to post it I would.
I'm all for empirical science but I believe a lot of these deer and forest studies are misconstrued by the lay public and media due to the infinite complexity and variety of ecosystems. That's not to say they are junk science at all but to try to extrapolate this one tested variable into what it's not is where the science and emotion/politic divide often goes haywire.