High densities of white-tailed deer negatively impact ecosystems in parts of North America, many of which are also impacted by invasive plants. Whether plant invasions are a result of high deer population, and how deer and invasives interact in their impacts, are not well understood. This motivated a colloquium at the 2016 Botanical Society of America meeting. Nine of those presentations were expanded for this special issue of AoB PLANTS, “Interactions between white-tailed deer and invasive plants in North American forests.” This Introduction to this issue highlights the context of the problems and summarizes and synthesizes insights from these papers.
White-tailed deer are emblematic ungulates that, due to anthropogenic modification of landscapes, currently occur at elevated densities. Elevated deer densities often co-occur with non-native plants, but it is not known if plant invasions are a consequence of deer impacts or occur independent of deer impacts on ecosystems, or whether these two stressors are synergistic. A colloquium on ‘Interactions of white-tailed deer and invasive plants in forests of eastern North America’ explored these topics at the 2016 annual meeting of the Botanical Society of America. Nine of those presentations are published in this special issue of AoB PLANTS.