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Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor officials say they’re clearing trees to accommodate the annual deer hunt that aims to reduce the destructive deer population.

Up to 250 deer can be killed during the city’s deer hunt this month, The Ann Arbor News reported.

The deer’s eating habits could potentially hinder forest regeneration and biodiversity, city officials said. Deer have also damaged private residences and gardens, and caused vehicle crashes, officials said.

Deer browsing damage makes seedlings more susceptible to drought, disease and insect attacks, according to Jacqueline Courteau, a local ecologist and biologist.

But in order to protect its forests, the city has had to cut down trees to provide hunters with room.

Some residents are concerned about the tree-cutting practice.

“I find it ironic that one of the reasons for the cull is stated to be to ‘protect the understory from the deer,’ yet the shooters hired by the city are destroying the understory with chain saws and apparently with abandon,” said Terry Abrams, a member of Friends of Ann Arbor Wildlife in Nature, a group that opposes the cull.

The practice has occurred in previous years, and city staff work to ensure trimming and cutting is done appropriately, said Tom Crawford, a member of the city’s administration overseeing the deer cull.

The city doesn’t keep a record of how many trees are being cut down, which types of trees are being removed or from which areas they’re being taken, said city spokeswoman Lisa Wondrash.

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