King County logo

Beaver Management Technical Paper #3: Beaver Life History and Ecology Best Science Review

Beaver Management Technical Paper #3: Beaver Life History and Ecology Best Science Review

This literature review represents the best science currently available on beaver life history and ecology, with a particular focus on Western Washington. The resources cited in this document span over 200 years. Most of the papers cited in this document represent studies conducted using standard scientific methods, but some resources are books that represent years and sometimes decades of beaver observations. Beavers have been of interest to people in general and science in particular for a long time, as evidenced by the large number of scientific papers cited in this document. And most recently, there is a large and growing interest in partnering with beavers in climate change adaptation and mitigation, so new and exciting research is coming out every year.

The contents include a review of historic populations, the fur trade, reintroduction efforts, and current populations. Biology topics include size, adaptations, and an extensive examination of diet. Colony composition, size, density, and longevity is described. Reproduction and productivity is covered, including beaver longevity, breeding age and timing, litter size, and how density impacts these aspects of beaver life history. Dispersal is examined including age at and timing of dispersal. Territoriality is discussed, with a special focus on scent mounds. Disease and mortality tops off the life history chapter. The engineering chapter covers various elements of tree cutting as well as beaver ponds, dams, lodges, and canals.

View the report

    Beaver management technical paper #3: beaver life history and ecology best science review (10.60 MB)

You can download a free copy of Adobe© Acrobat© Reader