Beavers alter ecosystems by cutting trees and shrubs and creating mosaics of wetlands, moist meadows, and ponds.

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References

“For extensive stream remodeling that creates new wetlands, waterfowl habitat, fish spawning pools, and settling ponds for sediment, nothing matches the work of beavers.” (Baskin 1997:95)

Book
Work of Nature: How the Diversity of Life Sustains UsJanuary 1, 1997
Yvonne Baskin

“Beaver (Castor canadensis) provide a striking example of how animals influence ecosystem structure and dynamics in a hierarchical fashion. Initially beaver modify stream morphology and hydrology by cutting wood and building dams. These activities retain sediment and organic matter in the channel, create and maintain wetlands, modify nutrient cycling and decomposition dynamics, modify the structure and dynamics of the riparian zone, influence the character of water and materials transported downstream, and ultimately influence plant and animal community composition and diversity (Naiman and Melillo 1984, Naiman et al. 1986). In addition to their importance at the ecosystem level, these effects have a significant impact on the landscape and must be interpreted over broad spatial and temporal scales as beaver population dynamics shift in response to disturbance, food supply, disease, and predation.” (Naiman et al. 1988:753)

Journal article
Alteration of North American Streams by BeaverBioScienceApril 25, 2006
Robert J. Naiman, Carol A. Johnston, James C. Kelley

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Living System/s

Organism
American BeaverCastor canadensisSpecies

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