Beavers are widely recognised as a keystone species which play a pivotal role in riparian ecology. Their tree felling and dam building behaviours coupled with a suite of other activities create a wealth of living opportunities that are exploited by a range of other species. Numerous scientific studies demonstrate that beaver-generated living environments that are much richer in terms of both biodiversity and biomass than wetland environments from which they are absent. Emerging contemporary studies indicate clearly that the landscapes they create can afford sustainable, cost-effective remedies for water retention, flood alleviation, silt and chemical capture.
Beaver activities, especially in highly modified environments, may be challenging to certain land use activities and landowners. Many trialled and tested methods to mitigate against these impacts, including a wide range of non-lethal management techniques, are regularly implemented across Europe and North America. Many of these techniques will be new to people, especially in areas where beavers are newly re-establishing. This handbook serves to discuss both the benefits and challenges in living with this species, and collates the wide range of techniques that can be implemented to mitigate any negative impacts.
The authors of this handbook are all beaver experts and together they have a broad range of scientific knowledge and practical experience regarding the ecology, captive husbandry, veterinary science, pathology, reintroduction and management of beavers in both continental Europe and Britain.