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The BeaverIts Life and Impact$
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Dietland Muller-Schwarze

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450105

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450105.001.0001

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Maker of Landscapes

Maker of Landscapes

Creating Habitat for Plants, Animals, and People

(p.135) Chapter 16 Maker of Landscapes
The Beaver

Dietland Müller-Schwarze

Cornell University Press

This chapter explains how beavers create habitat for plants, people, and other animals. As “ecosystem engineers,” beavers affect their ecosystem by damming up water and removing trees. The stored water and raised water table can be important for many plants and animals, especially during droughts. Furthermore, the water flow pattern is altered, reducing erosion. The beaver dam creates a “hydraulic head,” which raises the water level at the creek bank and moves water around the dam both above ground and as groundwater flow. This chapter discusses the impact of beavers on water and soil chemistry and on humans and other organisms such as plants, insects and other invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. It also considers the effect of beavers on vegetation succession.

Keywords:   beaver, habitat, plants, animals, ecosystem engineer, hydraulic head, water chemistry, soil chemistry, humans, vegetation succession

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