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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Selective foraging on woody plant species by the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) in Telemark, Norway

Published by: Journal of Zoology

1st October 2006

Beavers are herbivores that travel from their home to gather food by cutting trees and plants. This study tested a theory called 'central-place foraging theory' by examining beavers' foraging behaviour. It found that beavers had a preference for certain tree species - alder is especially tasty for these Norwegian beavers. Food gathering declined further away from the water, and in these areas, larger trees were preferred. This was in line with the predicted foraging patterns.

Aquatic habitats of Canaan Valley, West Virginia: Diversity and environmental threats

Published by: Northeastern Naturalist

30th September 2006

In one specific valley in the USA, researchers presented two main threats to aquatic habitats and species. First, acid rain was found to limit the survival of brook trout in streams. Second, beaver activity had transformed streams into ponds. While ponds may increase habitat diversity, flooding from beaver dams had a negative impact on specific wetland habitats. The authors suggest that local management plans need to incorporate both of these issues. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Human-induced changes in animal populations and distributions, and the subsequent effects on fluvial systems

Published by: Geomorphology

30th September 2006

Human activities since colonisation have drastically changed river systems in North America by removing native animal populations and introducing new species. Alongside bison, prairie dogs, and grizzly bears, the author highlights beavers as having had significant geomorphic effects. Beavers trapped large sediment volumes, while bison wallows, for example, displaced sediment. The impacts of feral rabbits, horses, and pigs are also noted. Quantifying these impacts remains difficult, and the author emphasises the need for more research.

Effects of small dam removal on stream chemistry in southeastern Pennsylvania

Published by: Journal of the North American Benthological Society

1st September 2006

This study reports on the water quality impact of removing a 2-metre-high man-made dam in the USA. They found that the chemistry of the water - with the exception of one component - did not change significantly after dam removal. The authors compare this to the literature on small natural dams such as those made by beavers. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Macroinvertebrate abundance, water chemistry, and wetland characteristics affect use of wetlands by avian species in Maine

Published by: Hydrobiologia

1st September 2006

Researchers studied how birds used 29 different wetlands in the USA. Shallow beaver wetlands supported more duck broods than deep, glacial wetlands. The beaver wetlands had high phosphorus levels and diverse plant life, providing nutrients and physical cover for insects to thrive. This benefitted insect-eating birds. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

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