Synopsis of Topic
Within this topic of beaver ecology and history, we've organized some lectures and discussions around the following topics:
- Beaver Biology & Life History
- History of Beaver North America
- Beaver Habitat Requirements
- Undisriminating Rodent
- Influence of Landscape Factors on Site Occupancy
- Spatial Range & Physiographic Diversity of Beaver Habitats
- Dam Building vs. Bank Building Beaver
Why We're Covering It
We need to understand beaver biology and their habitat requirements to better understand where restoration with beaver might be appropriate and what they need to survive. This discussion would be remiss without some context for the history beaver in north America, including their near extinction from fur trapping. The region we're in here in Cache Valley is known as Bridgerland, after Jim Bridger.
This topics helps us with the following learning outcome for the workshop:
- An appreciation of beaver ecology and the complex feedbacks between beaver activity, hydrogeomorphic responses, riparian vegetation and fish ecology;
Slides & Handouts
Relevant or Cited LiteratureBeaver Life History/Biology
Dam Building vs. Bank Building Beaver
The Beaver: Its Life and Impact. By Dietland Muller-Schwarze
'The Beaver: Its Life and Impact is designed to satisfy the curiosity and answer the questions of anyone with an interest in these animals, from students who enjoy watching beaver ponds at nature centers to homeowners and land managers. Color and black-and-white photographs document every aspect of beaver behavior and biology, the variety of their constructions, and the habitats that depend on their presence.' - Cornell University Press
- Aleksiuk M. 1970. The seasonal food regime of arctic beavers. Ecology: 264-270.
- Barnes DM and Mallik AU. 1997. Habitat factors influencing beaver dam establishment in a northern Ontario watershed. Journal of Wildlife Management. 61(4): 1371-1377.
- Baker BW and Hill EP. 2003. Beaver (Castor Canadensis). Feldhamer GA, Thompson BC and Chapman JA (Eds), Wild Mammals of North America: Biology, Mangement and Conservation. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, Maryland, pp. 288-310.
- Hill EP. 1976. Control methods for nuisance beaver in the southeastern United States, 25 pp.
- Karraker NE and Gibbs JP. 2009. Amphibian production in forested landscapes in relation to wetland hydroperiod: A case study of vernal pools and beaver ponds. Biological Conservation. 142(10): 2293-2302. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.05.002.
- Naiman RJ, Johnston CA and Kelley JC. 1988. Alteration of North-American Streams by Beaver. Bioscience. 38(11): 753-762.
- Novak M. 1987. Beaver. Wild Furbearer Management and Conservation in North America. Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario: 283-312.
- Roberts TH and Arner DH. 1984. Food habits of beaver in east-central Mississippi. The Journal of wildlife management. 48(4): 1414-1419.
- Seton ET. 1925. Lives of game animals.Vol 4., Part 2, Rodents, etc. Doubleday, Doran, Garden City, NY.
- Wright JP, Jones CG and Flecker AS. 2002. An ecosystem engineer, the beaver, increases species richness at the landscape scale. Oecologia. 132(1): 96-101. DOI: 10.1007/S00442-002-0929-1.
- Meentemeyer, R. K., J. B. Vogler, and D. R. Butler. 1998. The geomorphic influences of burrowing beavers on streambanks, Bolin creek, North Carolina. Zeitschrift Fur Geomorphologie 42:453-468.
Relevant LinksHistory of Beaver in North America / Fur Trapping / Recovery
Dam Building vs. Bank Building Beaver
- Fur Trade Trade in Utah - 'The early history of Utah is intimately tied to the history of the fur trade. Drawn to the mountains by the beaver, trappers and traders opened trails that would be followed by succeeding generations of adventurers and settlers. Overall, the mountain men had a positive impact upon the native inhabitants of this region, creating an improved climate for those who would come later.'
- History of beavers in Connecticut - Wilson, J. M. 2001. Beavers in Connecticut: Their natural history and management. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Wildlife Division. Hartford, CT. 18 pp.
- History of beavers in the Columbia River basin - It is impossible to miss the importance of beavers in the history of the Columbia River. The principal object of land-based fur traders in the Northwest of the 1800s, beavers were plentiful, easily trapped and valuable. Their thick, water-resilient fur was transported across country to Canada and New England for manufacture into coats, shawls, blankets, and hats, and traded in China for tea and spices.
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