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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Natural vs anthropogenic streams in Europe: History, ecology and implications for restoration, river-rewilding and riverine ecosystem services

Published by: Earth-Science Reviews

21st February 2018

When undergoing stream restoration in Europe, the aim was typically to try to recreate a single, meandering channel with a silt-clay floodplain. This paper, by exploring a variety of historical data, showed that this aim is not appropriate to the European context. Major European rivers actually used to be multi-channel systems, choked with vegetation. The text described how these systems were transformed over millenia through deforestation, farming, and other human activities. Restoring to this historical state is impractical, but examples of beaver reintroductions are described in detail as promising approaches for European river restoration.

Where beavers (Castor canadensis) build: Testing the influence of habitat quality, predation risk, and anthropogenic disturbance on colony occurrence

Published by: Canadian Journal of Zoology

21st February 2018

This study sought to understand what factors come into play when beavers in British Columbia, Canada, decide where to settle down and build their home. Here, habitat quality was the main driver for beaver presence. They preferred areas with richer vegetation, more open water, and lots of swamp. Predation risk and human activity did not seem to affect their decision.

Identifying source populations for the reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber L. 1758, into Britain: evidence from ancient DNA

Published by: Scientific Reports

9th February 2018

This paper analysed DNA from beaver fossils. It aimed to reconstruct how beavers migrated and evolved over time in Europe. This helps inform today's conservation decisions by understanding which populations were in Britain before they were hunted to extinction. British beavers were part of a large group of western European beavers who all shared similar DNA.

Kill Rates and Predation Rates of Wolves on Beavers

Published by: Journal of Wildlife Management

1st February 2018

In Canada, scientists counted how many beavers a wolf was hunting. Scaling up from this individual, they estimated that the local wolf pack killed around 80 beavers during the ice-free season (around one beaver per wolf, every ten days). This was around 40% of the local beaver population, yet the beaver population increased by around 40% that year, possibly due to migration from nearby areas.

North American Beaver (Castor canadensis Kuhl) Key Habitat Characteristics: Review of the Relative Effects of Geomorphology, Food Availability and Anthropogenic Infrastructure

Published by: Ecoscience

1st January 2018

This article reviewed and compared the variety of computer models used to predict where beavers will settle down and make their home in North American river systems. These models are useful, amongst other things, for preventing damage to human infrastructure. The models varied quite a lot, but some factors were consistently applied: stream steepness and forest cover were important influences in beavers' decisions.

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