Multi-use forestry provides important ecosystem services of timber, carbon sequestration, recreational amenity and biodiversity. Climate change and emerging threats of forest pathogens require tree species diversification and novel forest management strategies to enhance resilience. However expanding deer populations may limit adaptation opportunities, as many tree species are susceptible to browsing. Although deer impacts on forestry and associated biodiversity are well documented, effectiveness of deer management in regulating populations at local and landscape-scales is poorly understood. Deer numbers and recruitment rates are often not known and management is not based on robust and verifiable evidence.
This PhD studentship will build on long-term monitoring of landscape-scale deer numbers using thermal imaging, to quantify and model source-sink population dynamics across landownerships which differ in management objectives and practices. Forest impacts will be quantified in relation to deer density, tree species and resource scarcity. Outcomes of deer management scenarios (spatial deployment of effort) will be modelled, providing a decision support tool.
The student will be jointly supervised by the University of East Anglia and Forestry Commission. The student will join a large community of postgraduate and postdoctoral conservation ecologists and population biologists across the Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences at UEA and will benefit from training by FC forestry and deer management professionals. Suitable applicants will have: a first or upper second class BSc and ideally MSc in Ecology, Biology or a related discipline; skills in statistical analysis, GIS and field ecology; experience of working with diverse stakeholders and an enthusiasm for working long hours in challenging field conditions. For further enquiries please contact Dr Paul Dolman: [Email Address Removed].
Interview will be held on Friday 19 February 2016.
This four year studentship is funded by the Forestry Commission England, and includes home/EU tuition fees, bench fees, field research costs (equipment, transport), and an annual stipend of £14,057.
i) Wäber, K., Spencer, J., Dolman, P.M. (2013) Achieving landscape-scale deer management for biodiversity conservation: the need to consider sources and sinks. Journal of Wildlife Management, 77, 726-736. doi: 10.1002/jwmg.530
ii) Wäber, K., Dolman, P.M. (2015) Deer abundance estimation for landscape-scale management in heterogeneous forests. Basic and Applied Ecology doi 10.1016/j.baae.2015.06.005
iii) Holt, C.A., Fuller, R.J., Dolman, P.M. (2011) Breeding and post-breeding responses of woodland birds to modification of habitat structure by deer. Biological Conservation 144, 2151-2162. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.05.004
iv) Sutherland, W.J., Pullin, A.S., Dolman, P.M., Knight, T.M. (2004). The need for evidence-based conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19, 305-308