Hunting restores forests in state parks, Purdue study says

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

Associate forest ecology professor Michael Jenkins says hunting is an effective means of promoting the growth of Indiana's natural areas. He says hunting helps maintain an ecological balance. 

The state Department of Natural Resource introduced controlled hunts in state parks in 1993, with most parks adopting the strategy by 1996.

The study compared the amount of plant cover in 108 plots in state parks and found the total plant cover more than doubled from 1996-97 to 2010.

The study also showed that the hunting program led to the recovery of native species and discouraged the spread of invasive and exotic species.

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