Beavers are amazing
Believe it or not beavers are native to the UK and we are currently in the first stages of their reintroduction to selected parts of Scotland and England. They are the ultimate equilibrium device for water distribution and flow and have enormous positive effects on biodiversity and water quality, all of which has earned them the grand biological labels: ecosystem engineers and keystone species. Here’s a list of just some of the many benefits they bring:
- Reduced the risk of drought by increasing the height of the water table due to water retention and by slowing the rate of flow
- Improved water quality by slowing the flow of rivers and streams, allowing sediment to be deposited
- Reduced risk of flooding by widening channels and creating side branches and ponds
- Increased biodiversity due to the larger range of water habitats and coppicing of local trees
If you’re interested in the reintroduction, take a look at the blog for the Scottish Beaver trial or check out the paper in the references below.
Rosell, F., Bozser, O., Collen, P. & Parker, H. (2005). Ecological impact of beavers Castor fiber and Castor canadensis and their ability to modify ecosystems. Mammal Review, 35, 248–276.