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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Forest Regeneration

While looking at the PGC website under the DEER MANAGEMENT ASSESMENT under zone 3D I came up with a question on forest regeneration, and was hoping someone could answer it for me. In 2005 with an estimated deer population of 48,000 the forest was at 52%. Five years later (2010) the deer population was at 32,500 and the forest was at 51%. With a decrease in population of nearly 16,000 deer, shouldn't the forest increase instead of decrease in 5 years? How long should it take for the forest to show some improvement? It seems that there has to be other factors destroying the forest other than deer. The numbers of turkeys in this area is very good, could they have an effect on the regeneration with the amount of scratching they do? Gypsy moths have been terrible in some areas of 3D during that timeframe. With the catapillars eating off all the leaves wouldn't that allow sunlight to hit the forest floor which would improve regeneration? In the areas with the gypsy moth issues, what effect did they have on the overall acorn crop? I know in the area I hunt the last 2 years 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 the acorn drop was incredible, however, here we didn't have the gypsy moth problem. The big selling point of HR by th GC was for habitat improvement but it's not happening. Why?
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 08:28 AM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

Gypsy moth infestation two successive years will kill a tree. But the GC cannot control them, nor acid rain, which has a negative impact on the soil acidity. And then there are wooly agedis, heavy canopy and other factors affecting regeneration. The GC and DCNR allege the lack of regeneration is solely due to deer browsing on new seedlings, so that deer must be eliminated. Like many of their statictics, your example shows how they are skewed.

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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 11:22 AM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

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Originally Posted by stoolshooter
Gypsy moth infestation two successive years will kill a tree. But the GC cannot control them, nor acid rain, which has a negative impact on the soil acidity. And then there are wooly agedis, heavy canopy and other factors affecting regeneration. The GC and DCNR allege the lack of regeneration is solely due to deer browsing on new seedlings, so that deer must be eliminated. Like many of their statictics, your example shows how they are skewed.
That is NOT true. Wildlife managers have defined the big three factors as CDL. Competing vegetation, Sunlight and Deer.

While acid rain IS a factor, its down on the list behind the rest. Deer are the easiest factor to manage.

There is far more going into these reports now beyond what the written word shows; and the outlook is far brighter than what is shown in the reports. You need to talk to Dave Gustofson at the PGC. He posts on huntingpa.

I think Dutch has his email. I'll ask him to ask Dave to come on and post so you can hear it from the chief forester himself and not speculative opinion that isn't based in fact.

The man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic. ~Roosevelt
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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 02:30 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

Here is a PM from Dave when I asked him about a similar thread a few months ago.

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Wow,

I haven’t even tried to read all of this yet, and an effective reply would take me quite awhile, and I'll need to be at my office to gather resources. My presentation to the board at last years meeting in April covered allot of this. I'll try to get back to you with a better description on Monday but for now, here are some starting points.

I did notice a few incorrect comments.

1. The data is not supplied by DCNR. It is partially funded by DCNR and supplied by the US Forest Service.
2. The data is not relative only to public land. It is taken on all lands public and private...that is the reason we use it. It is the ONLY data set that meets our criteria of being representative of all lands as per the deer management plan on page 66.

As to the reason that the data is not showing much change yet…....there are a few reasons. But let’s just say right now that our eyes don’t lie…change IS happening, and positive change. We all see it. So why doesn’t the data show it?

1. We don’t look at a single year data set, as that would be pretty irresponsible. We all know that yearly changes in weather, seed crops, hunting pressure, and many other factors cause yearly fluctuations in habitat on local areas. It would not be wise to make management decisions on a year to year data set, even if you have 1 plot for every 10 acres. You need to follow trends and adjust, and that is why we use a 5 year data set…to smooth out some of that noise from those yearly anomalies. (Ben Jones covered this pretty well at last April’s commission meeting.)

2. This past year was the first year that a complete 5 year data set was not influenced by pre-herd reduction data. This effect has caused a lag time in seeing the response.

3. The data is measured against thresholds. If the plot “passes” the threshold score, it is adequate. If not, it is in-adequate. That creates a “pass / fail” metric. Then we track how many plots pass from one year to the next. But what about improvement below the threshold? Or decline? We can only detect change once it hits the mark. There may be change occurring that we don’t detect according to how we look at the data right now.

4. Since this is only the second year I have been responsible for this area of the management plan, I have proposed many new improvements for this year. One thing I will look at this year is the raw data. This way I can track change below the threshold and report trends in change. I will also be looking at the plot locations using GIS to see if there are noticeable geographic trends below the WMU level.

5. There is constant improvement in this program. Those who say nothing has changed just aren’t paying attention to anything other than what they want to in order to serve their own complaints…I don’t have that luxury of being emotional about this stuff.

6. The bottom line of it all is that this stuff takes more time than most people are willing to give it. I can understand that, as most hunters look at things in the terms of their “hunting life”…maybe 30 years or so. So when after 10 years they don’t get slapped in the face with results, they get all worked up. When I look at the big picture, I’m looking at the last 100 years of change in habitat and wildlife populations, trying to learn from it, and then looking forward to the next 100 years and trying to figure out what we need to do now in order to ensure that we don’t screw it up for our great-grand kids. 10 years is nothing in the terms of forest development and habitat management. The “instant-gratification” society needs to just relax. Deer aren’t in danger of extinction; regardless of what some would have us believe. There are many other species in danger to the point that if we don’t pay attention, we could loose them. And it is all based on the habitat.

In closing, I’m a hunter. I was a deer hunter before I ever thought about being a forester. I’m from the “big woods” of McKean County. I still go there a at least once a month, and darn near every weekend in April, May, October, November, December, and January. My grandpa has been hunting there since the 1930’s, and he is now 91 and still sharp as a tack. I have pictures of what it used to be like from the 30’ al the way thru the 90’s. I’m a student of the history of PA. I have some perspective and some credentials to be doing this job.

I’ve also spent 15 years in the military and I have been an officer at the command level making decisions. I have a very comprehensive understanding of what it takes to make well thought out decisions by gathering the best intel possible.

If I thought there was something better to use to make the best decision, I would use it. Is our system perfect? [censored] no!! But that is why we look at new things each year to try to improve it. I truly believe that our program in PA is on the cutting edge, and that other states will be following our lead in the future.



"It only takes one person to care in order to get something changed." Bryan S.
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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 02:31 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

Quote:
Feel free to copy and paste from here down
In any statistical sampling design, the ultimate goal is to be able to sample EFFICIENTLY. That is to say that you want to capture as much of the reality of the whole as possible with as few samples as it takes, saving time, money, and resources.

The way to track your accuracy of a sample is by tracking VARIATION.

If you have a hundred acres of exactly the same stuff (a plantation), you only need 1 plot to give you a sample with which you can expand statistically to tell you what the whole 100 acres looks like with a high degree of certainty. The more the area to be sampled changes, the more sample plots you need to be able to capture as much of the variation as possible.

It is ridiculous to think you could capture ALL of the variation in the forests of PA. It would no longer be a sample; it would be a 100% inventory. It's not realistic either economically or logistically. So, as in every other scientific endeavor that has ever been undertaken, we are forced to sample the conditions and then use statistics to evaluate the sample. We use standard errors, confidence intervals, and variation metrics to evaluate the statistics to determine the worth of the results.

We are tracking variation in our Habitat Health Assessment. What we have is variation that is at or below the target of 13% in most WMUs. In 2G it is actually down around 8%. This was, again, part of my presentation at the April meeting last year, and will be again this year.

The bottom line is that the number of plots and where they are on the landscape means nothing. The question is…Are we able to get a representative sample? The answer, according to the statistics, is yes. Could it be better? Maybe. But at what cost? When you achieve variation percentages below 10%, there are certainly diminishing returns to applying more resources to get marginally better info.

Again, feel free to copy and paste into the forum…



"It only takes one person to care in order to get something changed." Bryan S.
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 03:22 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

Very nice explanation of applied statistical analysis.

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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 03:40 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

I'll tell you what, having guys like Dave at the PGC really gives me great hope for the future. The old guard at the PGC is turning over and new folks, with great ideas and great people skills are replacing them. THAT is a win for sportsman.

Gary Alt was right, we need a generation to die....... or retire. LOL



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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 04:03 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

Kinda comical actually. Pretty extreme sentiment there dutch.

Btw, I missed the part addressing the original poster in all that. Perhaps you can highlight the part showing why the audit said Pgcs data showed regeneration DECLINING statewide, despite the significant herd reductions, and despite so many folks, including some educated folks, saying that things ARE improving.

As i see it, all the uncertainty is a result of 100% unproven analysis procedure (basically because its experiment in progress) and the fact its so hard to get sufficient sample size for statewide analysis... Some would say IMPOSSIBLE.

I dont know about impossible, but it would seem a daunting task. Don't think it reasonable to expect one small survey plot here, to be indicative of conditions throughtout the 15, 20 or 30 miles to the next survey plot.


But what do I know, Im just one of those disgruntled sportsmen that needs to die off. ha ha... ;.)

Quote:
The old guard at the PGC is turning over and new folks, with great ideas and great people skills are replacing them. THAT is a win for sportsman
I dont know about that, but from what Ive seen across the internet, alot of environmentalist types certainly seem to be excited.

But I will say, that is one heck of a way to talk about the stately gentlemen /ladies of the "old guard" who have served sportsmen of this state for many many years.
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 04:07 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

Only problem is that:

Quote:
2. This past year was the first year that a complete 5 year data set was not influenced by pre-herd reduction data. This effect has caused a lag time in seeing the response.
And it still went down by 1%.

The excuses have been exausted. Time for improvement or a new set of excuses. Waugh!

AR is only a pacifier.You will never grow if it's not in your genes.
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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 04-05-2012, 04:12 PM
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Re: Forest Regeneration

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As i see it, all the uncertainty is a result of 100% unproven analysis procedure (basically because its experiment in progress)
Sorry to cut the full statement but I agree with this part of the statement and not the rest of it.

I don't feel I changed the meaning by cutting it as I did.

The problem seems to be the yardstick or lack of one used. Waugh!

AR is only a pacifier.You will never grow if it's not in your genes.
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