Upcoming Discussion Series on Biodiversity in the Upper Valley

For many of us, spending time in the forest is a crucial part of life in the Upper Valley. Our forests offer a place to hike, cross-country ski, and relax in nature. They provide wood for our fires, sequester our carbon emissions, and purify our air. 

These forests are also home to vital and complex ecosystems — and their health is facing severe threats, including deer overabundance and invasive species. 

This spring, UVLT is partnering with more than 20 conservation and environmental groups and public agencies to present a series of public discussions exploring these issues and possible solutions, titled Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Declining Biodiversity in Upper Valley Forests. Over the summer, we’ll follow those talks with field visits and outdoor programming. 

We hope you will join us for one or more of these events in person at Hanover’s Howe Library (no registration required) or online via Zoom (register using links in the session descriptions below). 

Can’t make it in real time? Each of the sessions will be recorded and posted on the Howe Library’s YouTube page. 

Session 1: Why Forests are Essential for Us and the Planet

April 18, 6-7:30 PM
Howe Library Mayer Room, Hanover, NH 

Forests are far more than trees—they also include understory plants, wildlife, insects, and soil microbes. Our speakers will discuss these ecosystems, provide a brief history of New England’s forests, and share the many ecological, cultural, and economic benefits they provide for us and our planet. 

They will also address current research on challenges to the health of our forests and their ability to regenerate. For example, as global warming continues to impact forests, their ability to sequester carbon — and slow warming — will be affected, creating a negative feedback loop. 



Session 2: Oh Deer: Impact of Deer on Upper Valley Forests

May 1, 6-7:30 PM
Howe Library Mayer Room, Hanover, NH 

Deer overpopulation has myriad negative impacts, from disease transmission to reduced biodiversity. This session will address deer population control with a focus on the role of hunting. Speakers will address questions including: How do we know the density of deer, and what is the “tipping point” at which deer damage our forests? How can individuals and all landowners help reduce deer pressure on our wild areas? Are there changes in hunting rules or hunting practices that could reduce deer density? Do we have enough hunters?



  • Gary Moore, former VT Fish & Game Commissioner

Session 3: (Open) Space Invaders: How Invasive Plants Threaten Biodiversity

May 22, 6-7:30 PM
Howe Library Mayer Room
Zoom link

The Upper Valley’s high deer population regularly overbrowse certain types of vegetation. This allows the non-native plants that deer do not eat to grow unchecked, impacting wildlife habitats and diversity within the forest understory. Some of these plant invaders are especially difficult to remove. 

Our speakers will discuss how to plan, prioritize, budget, and recruit public support for efforts to remove these invasive species. They will also address the question of what should replace removed plants.