Thursday, 3 March 2011

To Beaver or not to Beaver?

A new concept that I learnt today was that of key species, the example being that of a European beaver which have been completely driven from the UK by land owners as they “damage” trees.

However, it is this damage of trees that leads to them to build a habitat on which other species depend. The building of dams, creates areas of still water within an other wise turbid lotic system and as such, new species find a niche, moor hens paddle about on the surface feeding
on weed which may grow from the bed, other mammals may ustilise the lodge that the beaver lives in, the felled trees create ponding and encourage still more bio diversity, I feel whilst typing this that these key stone species are very important but there is a reason why they have been so unpopular, after all if you were a forester and 10% of you trees were stripped of their bark and died then what would you do (I would have less sympathy if the woods were grown on a commercial scale) Also in our current predicament with the climate would it not be better to preserve the trees, do they store more carbon than the ecosystem created by the beaver?

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