Be AVID about forest health! Assessing Vegetation Impacts from Deer (AVID)

Become a Volunteer!


White-tailed deer can have a significant impact on the vegetation in local woodlands. With high deer populations, more stress is put on native tree seedlings that are preferred food sources of deer. These preferred tree species have more difficulty in growing to be healthy trees because of deer browse. Without a new generation of tree seedlings, the structure and species composition of forests can change.

The University of Minnesota Extension operates a citizen science program to collect data that can be used to monitor the impacts of deer on vegetation in Minnesota woodlands.

Surprisingly, there is little information available statewide that determines deer impacts to vegetation across multiple ownerships, which is why volunteers are needed. Volunteers will collect important data that will allow researchers to gain insights into these complex issues.

This program is perfect for woodland owners, naturalists, and others with a basic knowledge of trees and plant identification. Participants will establish monitoring plots in wooded areas and monitor the health of these woods through recording annual measurements.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Learn about the impact of deer on Minnesota’s woodlands, and what the signs are of a high deer population.
  • Learn about current scientific monitoring techniques.
  • Set up monitoring plots and take regular measurements.
  • Contribute to scientific research at the University of Minnesota.
  • Have a great summer project!