Beavers return to Britain
Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish.
In Knapdale, damming by beavers transformed a small pond into a wetland of a type and complexity probably unseen in Britain for centuries. On the Bamff estate on Tayside, we found that grazing by beavers trebled the number of wetland plants in 9 years.
Beavers have recently made a tentative return to Britain.
Scotland has led the way, with an official trial population in Knapdale, a remote area of lochs and forest in the west of the country; and another in Tayside to the east, suspected to come from private-collection escapees and unlicensed releases.
Should we let these beavers take up permanent residence? The Scottish government has first refusal. It is overdue to make a decision on the back of five years of scientific monitoring and other evidence.
While conservationists wait with bated breath, we think there's only one sensible choice - beavers should be allowed back.
Beaver dam in forest image via Shutterstock.
Read more at ENN Affiliate, the Ecologist.