A Trot in the Park: Identifying What Geological Features and Topography Indicate High Deer Abundance

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Sean Pettit
Stephen Matter


By Sean Pettit, Environmental Studies


Award: Excellence in Research Communication

Presentation ID: 211

Abstract: Deer populations in the Cincinnati area are exposed to an array of landscape features, habitat size, and local land usage. Everything from urban parks to relatively suburban parks are home to growing deer populations. What park features and topography best predict large deer populations? To better understand what makes parks preferable for deer, this study outlines the specific geological features and topography that are associated with high deer abundance. The more isolated the deer population is from urban environments, the higher chance there will be a large abundance of deer. Using ARCGIS Online, a GIS software, a comprehensive map was made to highlight the unique geological features and park topography that indicate larger deer populations. Actual deer abundance was then collected using camera traps. Relative distance from roadways, other parks, and park areas were all also considered when predicting deer abundance. By comparing predictive data to the actual deer abundances, the preferable park and landscape features were then identified, as well as the parks with the highest deer abundance. Identifying what key features that predict larger deer abundances will allow parks managers to put their best efforts forward, efficiently, in managing deer populations across all parks in Cincinnati, as well as nationwide. 

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Category: Ecosystems & Biodiversity