The beaver facilitates species richness and abundance of terrestrial and semi-aquatic mammals

Petri Nummi, Wenfei Liao, Ophélie Huet, Erminia Scarpulla, Janne Sundell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Beavers are ecosystem engineers which are capable to facilitate many groups of organisms. However, their facilitation of mammals has been little studied. We applied two methods, camera trapping and snow track survey to investigate the facilitation of a mammalian community by the ecosystem engineering of the American beaver (Castor canadensis) in a boreal setting. We found that both mammalian species richness (83% increase) and occurrence (12% increase) were significantly higher in beaver patches than in the controls. Of individual species, the moose (Alces alces) used beaver patches more during both the ice-free season and winter. The Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), the pine marten (Martes martes) and the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) made more use of beaver sites during the winter. Our study highlights the role of ecosystem engineers in promoting species richness and abundance, especially in areas of relatively low productivity. Wetlands and their species have been in drastic decline during the past century, and promoting facilitative ecosystem engineering by beaver is feasible in habitat conservation or restoration. Beaver engineering may be especially valuable in landscapes artificially deficient in wetlands. (c) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00701
JournalGlobal Ecology and Conservation
Volume20
Number of pages10
ISSN2351-9894
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • Castor
  • Ecosystem engineer
  • Eurasian otter
  • Moose
  • Restoration
  • Wetlands
  • ECOSYSTEM ENGINEERS
  • CASTOR-CANADENSIS
  • EURASIAN BEAVER
  • POSITIVE INTERACTIONS
  • BUILDING ACTIVITY
  • LONG-TERM
  • HABITAT
  • PATCH
  • COMMUNITIES
  • POPULATION

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