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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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Needed: An Ecosystems Engineer for Habitat Restoration and Other Services

Needed: An Ecosystems Engineer for Habitat Restoration and Other Services

(p.184) Chapter 20 Needed: An Ecosystems Engineer for Habitat Restoration and Other Services
The Beaver

Dietland Müller-Schwarze

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the potential role of the beaver in habitat restoration and other ecosystems services. As a tireless dam builder, the beaver can and should be an important ally in wetland restoration. For thousands of years, beavers have created and maintained wetlands that stored water and kept the water table high. Their leaky dams evened out the flow of streams. Leaky dams provide an ideal compromise of “ecosystems services.” First, they control flooding better than solid concrete dams because of their gradual release of water. Second, they slow down the flow suffiently to allow time for cleansing the water. This chapter first considers the impact of beaver dams on stream restoration before discussing how the beaver can contribute to wetland conservation and restoration.

Keywords:   beaver, habitat restoration, ecosystems services, wetland restoration, wetlands, dam, flooding, stream restoration, wetland conservation

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