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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Bringing Back the Beaver: The Story of One Man’s Quest to Rewild Britain’s Waterways

Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing

30th September 2020

Built around the struggle to reintroduce beavers to Britain, this book weaves together historical accounts, personal anecdotes, ecological insights. It is an engaging read which also provides a detailed account of the political contention of beavers' reintroduction, including opposition shown by governments and, at times, angling communities. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

How beavers became North America’s best firefighter

Published by: National Geographic

22nd September 2020

This article describes how beavers can create refuges for many species during wildfires. These fires are becoming more prominent in the USA (and across the world) as climate change progresses. Beaver pond systems can stop fires from spreading - limiting damage as well as accelerating nature's recovery. This can benefit domestic and agricultural animals, too.

Food caching behavior of the Eurasian beaver in northern Europe

Published by: Wildlife Biology

16th September 2020

Beavers store food in caches to survive winters when food is scarce. This study examined Eurasian beavers' food caches in Sweden, Norway, and Lithuania. Most beavers began storing food in late September to mid-October. Cahces were deeper in Sweden but larger overall in Lithuania. Beavers tended to start storing food when temperatures got colder.

Beaver genetic surveillance in Britain

Published by: Global Ecology and Conservation

16th September 2020

This study investigated the genetic composition of two originally unofficially released beaver populations in Britain - Tayside, east Scotland, and River Otter, Devon, to provide data to support decision on their future management. Both wild populations were all confirmed as Eurasian beaver with their origin likely from Germany and the mixed founder population of Bavaria.
82% of the Tayside individuals examined were at least as closely related as first cousins, and the Devon beavers were more closely related on average.
So far, there is no evidence to suggest the reduced genetic diversity is causing and issues adapting to the British environment, however attention to genetic augmentation and longer-term management of genetic diversity should be factored into future restoration plans.

Smokey the Beaver: beaver-dammed riparian corridors stay green during wildfire throughout the western United States

Published by: Ecological Applications: Ecological Society of America

2nd September 2020

Using remotely sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data, this research compares riparian vegetation greenness in areas with and without beaver damming during wildfire. Beaver-dammed riparian corridors remain relatively unaffected by wildfire compared to similar corridors without damming, with the decrease in NVDI being 3.05 lower. The researchers conclude that while beaver activity does not necessarily play a role in riparian vegetation post-fire resilience, it does play a significant role in riparian vegetation fire resistance and refugia creation.

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