How we added value

Habitat Survey & Design: Beaver enclosures

Before the re-introduction of beavers, the land near Okehampton was characterized by an area of dense willow scrub growing around a simple channel. A few years later, land within the beaver enclosure looks completely different: A mosaic of pools, shrub, dead wood and culm grassland is covered with colourful insects and flourishing wetland plants.

Biodiversity Valuation: the Biodiversity Quality Calculator

The Biodiversity Quality Calculator is developed by Dr. Alan Feest of Ecosulis. The calculator provides quantitative outputs based on a variety of biodiversity indices that are generated from biodiversity measurements and sampling efforts on the site.

Result: Biodiversity increase

Bryophytes (non-vascular plants like mosses), bats and aquatic invertebrates were used as indicator groups, as these species are most associated with beavers. In all these groups the number of species and the species biomass increased as a result of beaver introductions. Also, dominant species became less abundant, leaving space for rare species to enter the habitat.

Result: Change in nutrients

The pools that beavers create also act as nutrient sinks, in particularly for nitrogen. This was concluded after researchers discovered an increase in nutrient intolerant bryophyte species (non-vascular plants like mosses), that started to appear in the beaver enclosure. 

More Information

  • The beaver introductions lead to an increase in bat species, such as the grey long-eared and barbastelle bats that were previously rarely observed at this location.
  • Ecosulis is currently collecting baseline data for the Forest of Dean project, which is looking to re-introduce beavers to a 6-ha enclosure in summer 2018, and a new potential site in Wales. 

Contact

Ecosulis Ltd. (Exeter Office)
Innovation Centre
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive
Exeter
Devon
EX4 4RN

Tel: 01392 247906