Beavers are in our history but not our culture. They are decision-makers with minds of their own and can radically alter whole landscapes. Our farmland and waterways have changed dramatically since beavers lived in more natural river systems. Many rivers are canalised, straightened and deeply incised, and no longer able to spread across valleys, often with farming and development right up to the bank.
Beavers and the wetlands they create can provide benefits to people and wildlife but they can cause issues that may conflict with current land use, livelihoods and traditions. With the right knowledge, planning, support and funding to manage impacts appropriately, community stakeholders can make the most of the return of beavers as part of their local river restoration and catchment management with minimum cost and disruption.