B. Beaver Ecology & History

A Beaver Family in its Lodge

Picture courtesy of Gordon Lonie.


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.

Learning Outcomes

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

Choose Workshop for Slides

Relevant or Cited Literature

Beaver Life History/Biology
Dam Building vs. Bank Building Beaver
  • 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 Links

History of Beaver in North America / Fur Trapping / Recovery
  • 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.
Dam Building vs. Bank Building Beaver

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