Science database

KNOWLEDGE BASE

We have gathered decades of scientific research from Great Britain, continental Europe and North America to share with people interested in diving deeper into the world of beavers.

This list of resources is being constantly amended and updated.

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The Methow Beaver Project: the Challenges of an Ecosystem Services Experiment

Published by: Case Studies in the Environment

1st December 2019

This paper reports on a reintroduction project in a mountainous area of the USA. The aim of the project was to improve water storage needs in a region facing longer dry seasons and stronger winter storms due to the climate crisis. The reintroduction was successful but, due to unprecedented fires and storms, proving their impact on water retention and stream temperature was challenging. Nevertheless, beavers made the ecosystem more resilient to these new climate challenges. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Scent-sniffing dogs can discriminate between native Eurasian and invasive North American beavers

Published by: Nature

4th November 2019

It is possible that the North American beavers present in Europe could outcompete the Eurasian beaver. This study shows that, in a laboratory environment, dogs can detect differences between the scents of the two species. Further tests are needed in the field - for example, under different weather conditions - but dogs show promise as a non-invasive conservation tool. The authors urged wildlife agencies to invest in this research.

Modelling of competitive interactions between native Eurasian (Castor fiber) and alien North American (Castor canadensis) beavers based on long-term monitoring data (1934–2015)

Published by: Ecological Modelling

1st October 2019

In this paper, scientists built a computer model to understand how invasive North American beavers affect populations of Eurasian beavers. The model was fed with almost 80 years of data from Russian nature reserves. They predicted that the North American beaver - due to its higher reproduction rate and other factors - would eventually displace the Eurasian beaver in every location. This study highlights the need for international programmes to monitor and potentially eradicate the North American beaver in Eurasia. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Reintroducing beavers Castor fiber to Britain: a disease risk analysis

Published by: Mammal Review

1st October 2019

This study followed an internationally-approved procedure for assessing disease risk to determine the health risks posed by beaver reintroductions in Britain. It considered the potential diseases that beavers from different places carry and the mitigation measures already in place. Overall, it found that the risk of introducing disease by releasing beavers into the wild in Britain was low.

Potential use of beaver Castor fiber L., 1758 dams by the thick-shelled river mussel Unio crassus Philipsson, 1788

Published by: Molluscan Research

20th September 2019

This paper highlighted for the first time the use of beaver dam-and-pond complexes by freshwater mussels. The mussels are thought to spread by hitching a ride on different types of fish. The beaver ponds provide a refuge from strong stream currents, which mussels need to survive.

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