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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Value of Biodiversity – Documenting EU examples where biodiversity loss has led to the loss of ecosystem services

Published by: The Institute for European Environmental Policy

9th June 2006

This report presents ten case studies cases where biodiversity loss has led to socioeconomic and financial costs. The case of beaver re-introduction to Germany is one of the ten presented. The study highlights that beavers provide benefits for freshwater purification, nutrient cycling, recreation, and ecotourism. Annex 9 presents the full case study, including a cost-benefit analysis of the beavers' reintroduction, concluding that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Interactions between cottonwood and beavers positively affect sawfly abundance

Published by: Ecological Entomology

8th June 2006

In the river-side forests of the western USA, cottonwood trees are common. Beavers also browse on cottonwood a lot. This study investigated how the act of beavers eating these trees influences the abundance of an insect called the leaf-galling sawfly. Results showed that the flies were far more common on trees beavers had eaten rather than trees they hadn't. The flies were commonly found on the cottonwood shoots. By eating, beavers increased the average shoot length of the cottonwood, creating more space for more flies.

Beyond beaver wetlands: The engineering activities of a semi-aquatic mammal mediate the species richness and abundance of terrestrial birds wintering in a temperate forest

Published by: Science

6th June 2006

The engineering activities of the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber have far-reaching effects on the components of an environment and therefore modify the functioning of the ecosystem.
This study aimed to evaluate the impact of beavers on terrestrial birds wintering on beaver sites in temperate forests of central Europe.
The study found greater species richness was related to beaver presence, with results highlighting the importance of beavers for the distribution of terrestrial organisms at the local scale, and therefore the functioning of ecosystems beyond the immediate wetland area.

Riparian disturbance due to beavers (Castor canadensis) in Alberta’s boreal mixedwood forests: Implications for forest management

Published by: Ecoscience

1st June 2006

In Alberta, Canada, logging and petroleum extraction have increased while North American beaver populations are also rebounding. This study analysed field surveys and aerial photos of rivers, showing that beavers widen and diversify habitats in and next to rivers. Beavers felled trees within 40m of the pond edge. However, current forestry rules only require a buffer of unlogged trees of 30-60m from the edge of the water. This conflict suggests that wider buffer areas are needed to protect riparian habitats and accommodate beavers. Please note, this resource is not open-access.

Beaver dam and overbank floods influence groundwater-surface water interactions of a Rocky Mountain riparian area

Published by: Water Resources Research

1st June 2006

Ecologists often assumed that beavers affect the water systems of riverbanks but the authors of this paper identified that actual evidence was lacking. Here, they studied the impact of beaver dams in the USA on surface water levels and flow patterns. The results showed that beaver dams made water flow around them: either over or through the ground. This increased the water table downstream, both in the wet and dry parts of the year, suggesting that beavers can create and sustain wetland habitats.

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