Deer and Forestry in Ireland: A Review

This report was commissioned by Woodlands of Ireland on a National Deer Strategy in an attempt to distill current knowledge and experience of deer populations in Ireland, their effect on Ireland’s growing woodland resource and the likely future consequence of relatively unchecked deer population growth. In the absence of any natural predators of deer in Ireland, it is necessary to manage their population in such a way as to maintain a balance between ecological, economic and social interests. The purpose of the report is to advance policy change with respect to deer populations and their management in Ireland.

Deer and Forestry in Ireland – A review of Current Status and Management Requirements – A Woodlands of Ireland Publication


“There is no national deer management policy in Ireland and no coordinated system of deer population distribution or density measurement. There is no single authority with jurisdiction over the necessary components of a comprehensive deer management policy. Due to a number of factors, deer populations in Ireland are increasing at unsustainable rates and in many areas are already at unsustainable levels. Deer are currently impacting significantly on both the economic and biodiversity values of forest habitats and these impacts will reach catastrophic levels in the next ten years if the current system of lack of management remains unchanged. The consequences of not addressing deer management will result in deteriorating conservation status of native woodland as well as a reduction in hardwood and conifer wood quality, an inability for broadleaf woodland to regenerate thereby compromising their future viability, increasing damage to agricultural crops as a result of increasing deer grazing pressure, severe difficulties regarding the control of disease outbreaks such as foot-and-mouth, and an increase in collisions between motor vehicles and deer, which may result in serious injuries or death for the motorists involved.”


Publication Details:

Publication Date: November 2009

Published by: Woodlands of Ireland

Authors: Paddy Purser, Faith Wilson and Dr. Ruth Carden.

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