Ecological impacts of the Eurasian Beaver Reintroduction Programme

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Simon Milne

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After an absence of 400 years the Eurasian Beaver, Castor fiber, was translocated back to Scotland in 2009 and granted protected species status in 2019, securing the future of this keystone species to Scotland. This is the first formal reintroduction of a mammal to the United Kingdom and follows decades of investigation, public debate, a rigorous five-year trial, and an unlicensed release. The decision to re-establish this species in Scotland was centred upon the beavers’, overall very positive influence on biodiversity, including species abundance and diversity, through creating new habitats, changing ecosystems, and provisioning ecosystem services. Nonetheless, such habitat changes in the semi-natural landscape had some adverse localised consequence for some species, and a wide range of interesting socio-economic impacts. The Scottish Beaver Trial also stimulated and informed wider debate on ecological restoration and reintroduction projects and heightened public awareness of these topics. This talk will explore the process, challenges and impact of the beaver translocation with specific reference to ecological restoration, including the conduct of monitoring and evaluation, population management solutions, and how the programme has influenced wider thinking on “re-wilding” and re-establishing ecosystem health.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration