Beavers are also known as ecosystem engineers because of their ability to alter stream eco-systems. And now they’re helping make some important discoveries, too. Kansas State University professor Melinda Daniels has been studying the connection between river restoration and the roles that beavers play. Their dams create diversity in the river landscapes, and can create meadows, ponds, and multichannel streams from a single-thread channel stream.
Along with three other researchers from the University of Connecticut, Daniels observed watersheds in northeastern Connecticut. They found that streams with large beaver populations have a larger restoration target for streams.
The article, “The River Discontinuum: Applying Beaver Modifications to Baseline Conditions for Restoration of Forested Headwaters”, is in a recent issue of BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.
The ultimate goal of the research is to assist with the restoration of rivers efficiently so it acknowledges ecosystem diversity and doesn’t destroy it.
Other restoration projects don’t take into account the role that beavers play. The group plans to continue their river observations and collect more data for maintaining river ecosystem diversity.
Read the full story from ScienceDaily.
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