[en] Bark peeling by red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) has become a serious issue for productive forests in western Europe. The damage is particularly severe on species such as spruce, as these become vulnerable to fungus attacks that result in considerably depreciated timber. This article presents a monitoring setup for recent bark peeling damage in spruce plantings in Wallonia (southern part of Belgium). This setup implies to collect data annually from a survey involving cluster sampling. It has been employed since 2004 in coniferous stands amounting to 165,000 ha of land, where Norway spruce is the predominant species. The study area was divided into blocks delineated along features preventing deer migrations. A set of indicators was computed either at the whole study area level or at block level. The resulting set of indicators enabled forest managers to follow up debarking intensity in productive forests. Additional analyses were carried out in order to assess the relationship between the social position of trees in the stand and the debarking probability on the one hand, and the relationship between the variation in damage magnitude and seasonality, namely summer versus winter, on the other hand.
Environmental sciences & ecology
Agriculture & agronomy
Phytobiology (plant sciences, forestry, mycology...)