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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Developing the Science of Reintroduction Biology

Published by: Conservation Biology

1st April 2007

This article reviews the emerging field of reintroduction biology. It looked at 454 papers from 1990–2005 and found that most research on wildlife reintroductions was retrospective and opportunistic. Whilst documentation of outcomes had improved, there was potential to use experimental and modelling approaches to enhance success. The case of beaver reintroductions to Scotland and the Netherlands were given as positive examples of using modelling approaches to assess reintroduction viability.

Beaver herbivory on aquatic plants

Published by: Oecologia

16th March 2007

This experiment tested how beavers' eating patterns affect freshwater plants. Researchers compared, over a period of 2 years, a beaver wetland to a wetland to which beavers were not allowed access. Beaver presence led to a 60% reduction in aquatic plant biomass, including a large reduction in an invasive species. It was shown that woolgrass tussocks were good at protecting certain species from beavers: acting like natural cages. Overall, this shows that beavers affect the aquatic floral ecosystem in ways that extend beyond just their engineering behaviour.

Effects of prescribed fire on habitat of beaver (Castor canadensis) in Elk Island National Park, Canada

Published by: Forest Ecology and Management

15th February 2007

Today's land managers face challenges like fire, drought, and climate change. Balancing these requires understanding how they interact. While prescribed fires are used for ecological restoration, their impact on beavers isn't well-understood. In Elk Island National Park, Canada, researchers studied how prescribed fires affect beaver lodges. Repeated fires reduced beaver presence and beaver habitat. More research is called for to be able to effectively manage this ecosystem. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

North American Beaver (Castor canadensis): a technical conservation assessment

Published by: USDA Forest Service

6th February 2007

This report assessed the status of beaver populations in the Rocky Mountains, USA. Despite the pressure of habitat destruction, populations appeared to be stable or growing. Improved trapping regulations, habitat protection, and population restoration efforts had helped. The report acknowledges the damage that beavers can cause in some areas, but says that their presence is usually desirable because of their ability to maintain healthy ecosystems. The report says that conservation efforts should focus on protecting habitats and pro-actively managing any damage issues and human conflicts.

Management by Assertion: Beavers and Songbirds at Lake Skinner (Riverside County, California)

Published by: Environmental Management

1st February 2007

This text discusses the management of an ecological reserve in California, USA. In this case, beavers were suspected of harming endangered songbirds and facilitating an invasive plant. This suspicion was not based in scientific evidence and, indeed, the scientific evidence suggested that the opposite was true. Nevertheless, a programme was started which permitted beavers' 'removal,' leading to unnecessary beaver deaths. The text highlights the importance of using scientific evidence for decision-making in reserve management.

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