Beavers being released onto the River Otter, Devon (Credit: Nick Upton/naturepl.com)

Beavers being released onto the River Otter, Devon (Credit: Nick Upton/naturepl.com)

This article was origionally published on BBC Earth.  

It has been 400 years since Britain was home to beavers. Now they have returned, and they are rapidly proving their worth


“…”The biodiversity is booming,” Brazier tells me as we approach the wire fence through a field of coarse grass and rushes. “It’s alive.”

Behind this fence, every species – plant and animal– depends on the behaviour of just one: the Eurasian beaver. Since their introduction in March 2011, a breeding pair of these large rodents has been as busy as, well, beavers.

They have raised a family. They have built a lodge to live in and gouged deep canals through the land for getting out and about. And, of course, they have chopped down trees and built a series of 13 dams from sticks and mud. The woodland stream has been, and is being, transmogrified into wetland.

It is easy to see why beaver are known as “ecosystem engineers”. But it is Brazier and Puttock’s task to find out what these large rodents are engineering exactly.

Although small in size, this site has huge importance. What the pair concludes from their studies here may help decide the fate of the charismatic beaver across the UK…”

Read on at: BBC Earth.