This is a list of some information that has appeared in the news media, arranged by descending date of publication. Much of it is supportive of beavers and their important role in the ecosystem as a keystone species. Listing a news item here does not mean that the Refuge necessarily endorses or agrees with anything mentioned. Be aware that many people view beavers as a consumable resource or 'pest'.
After protected status was achieved in 2019, Pike stated that the reintroduction of beavers was about 'restoring the balance of nature that we have thrown so badly off-course and reappraising how we live alongside species other than ourselves.' It seems that now, in light of the report, a new reappraisal is needed if we are to retain beavers as a prospering part of our natural environment. In a wider perspective of climate emergency, in which the effects of a chronic decline in biodiversity are becoming increasingly apparent, the precarious future of beavers in Scotland highlights larger questions about our priorities going forward.
Flooding from beaver dams creates new wetlands upstream, and while they may not be the most visually stunning environments, there is more to these wet spots than meets the eye. Benefits of wetlands include providing critical habitat to an abundance of plants and animals, water storage, carbon fixation, stream bank reinforcement, enhanced nutrient cycling and flood protection.
Rather than treat the beavers as a nuisance, Saratoga PLAN implemented a solution called the Beaver Deceiver, a water level device that allows the animals to build dams without causing flooding.
'I think people are waking up to what beavers can do and how exciting it could be if we brought them back,' said [Mark Elliott from the Devon Wildlife Trust]. 'We call them the keystone species because of the benefits that they create for other wetland species by creating new habitat and helping manage flood risk as well.'
After many years, the dams created by these furry engineers have created new habitats for other plants and animals.
Beavers have alleviated flooding, reduced pollution and boosted populations of fish, amphibians and other wildlife, according to a five-year study of wild-living animals in Devon.
The report, which will help the government decide whether to allow wild beavers to return to England after being hunted to extinction more than 400 years ago, concludes that the species has brought measurable benefits to wildlife and people.
A YouGov poll this week found overwhelming public support for reintroducing beavers into Britain, with 76% of people supporting the idea, by far the most popular mammal for reintroductions ahead of the wild cat, wolf and lynx.
As ecosystem engineers the beavers will develop wetland habitat, increasing the variety and richness of wildlife in the local landscape. Their presence in our river catchments is a sustainable way to help make our landscape more resilient to climate change and the extremes of weather it will bring.
This week on Discover Nature, watch for an ecological engineer, and unsung steward of streams.
More than any other mammal, the industrious and hard working beavers have the greatest impact on water bodies, with their tree harvesting, manipulation and dam building.
Beaver ponds naturally produce a huge and beneficial support habitat for everything from invertebrates, fish, crayfish, frogs, newts, snakes and turtles to predators like otters, minks, weasels and bears, as well as osprey, eagles, ducks, geese, etc. so the same factors which seem to make beavers a headache for farmers and land owners, provide a rich biodiversity for the flourishing of a wide range of plants, crustaceans and animals. Beaver ponds act as one of nature's best filters, removing sediments and pollutants from water, including total suspended solids, total nitrogen, phosphates, carbon and silicates.
Beavers provide woodland management by gnawing down trees and stimulating growth - they 'coppice' trees like willow, hazel, rowan and aspen.
Where the beavers are being released, we've got an amazing potential for wetland habitat, and the beavers are a massive help in creating that as ecological engineers.
Beavers do modify the habitats and landscapes they live in through coppicing, feeding and in some cases damming (beavers living on lakes or large rivers have little need of constructing dams), the Cumbria Wildlife Trust explained.
All of these modifications have a positive effect on biodiversity.
Beaver adaptations can bring enormous benefits to other species, including otters, water shrews, water voles, birds, invertebrates especially dragonflies, and breeding fish.
Their dams can hold water in periods of drought, can regulate flooding and improve water quality by holding silt behind dams and catching acidic and agricultural run-off.
Although we are pleased with this news, it is morally incongruous that Latvia should declare the beaver "Animal of the Year" and still allow hunting of these animals. We hope for a more enlightened position at some point.
We do not agree, of course, with any 'management' that involves killing beavers.
...rather than eliminate beavers from the area altogether as has been tradition elsewhere in the valley, the Historical Society searched for an alternative solution.