We’ve known it to be true in Canada and the United States for many, many years. And now a team of researchers in Scotland have seen the results with their own eyes: beavers are saving the world.
A press release from the University of Stirling released today outlined the incredible results found by the University of Stirling researchers.
“Examining head water streams which drain water from 13 hectares of Scottish countryside, scientists compared areas where beavers had been active with areas in which they were absent,” the press release states.
"Our study found that beaver behaviours have several benefits for the environment,” said study author Dr. Nigel Willby. “Their dam building skills help restore degraded streams and increase the complexity of the surrounding habitat, consequently increasing the number of species found by 28 per cent. The dams also help improve pollutant levels and store flood water."
The level of aquatic plant life was also found to be increased 20 fold, and concentrations of phosphorous and nitrates (primarily caused by run off from agricultural lands) were reduced by 50 and 40 per cent, respectively.
“We discovered that dams helped restore local biodiversity, but also had value for nutrient retention and storage of water during flood peaks, suggesting benefits downstream,” Dr. Willby added. “The beavers' engineering is therefore transforming low quality habitats in regions where the animal has long been absent.”
There are fair concerns about the potential infrastructure damage or land-used changes that can come as a result of beaver activity – but we at The Fur-Bearers know non-lethal solutions are possible, and more affordable than lethal controls. We would be happy to send a team to Scotland to help teach the researchers and landowners how flow devices work, so that Scottish beaver families can thrive – and continue saving the world.