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Reintroduced Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber)

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Ondertitel:colonization and range expansion across human-dominated landscapes
The protected Eurasian beaver Castor fiber is recolonizing its former range hereby entering human-dominated landscapes. This ecosystem engineer can cause considerable damage to human infrastructures and agriculture, by feeding, digging and damming. To prevent human-wildlife conflict and ensure continued support from the local residents, a better understanding of habitat selection is required. By using species distribution models (SDMs) to quantify habitat requirements in our study area in Flanders, Belgium, based on 1792 occurrence data from 71 territories, and a fine-scale land use and vegetation map, we explored the potential for future beaver settlements. The results indicate that even in a highly human-dominated landscape, there is sufficient habitat available to support beaver populations. We highlight the importance of distance to water, willow stands, wetland vegetation and poplar trees. We show that there is currently sufficient habitat to support 924 territories (619-1515, 90% confidence interval) in Flanders (but this does not imply these locations are conflict-free). Our findings indicate that 12 year after the reintroduction, there continues to be a large expansion potential, both in range and in densities within the currently recolonized area. Our results can be used as a management tool in order to evaluate possible risks linked with the return of beavers in a human dominated landscape. At these critical locations, increased monitoring or structural measures can prevent conflicts. By preventing or quickly resolving human wildlife conflicts, long-term coexistence between humans and beavers can be achieved.
Tijdschrift: Biodiversity and conservation
ISSN: 0960-3115
Volume: 26
Pagina's: 1863 - 1876
Trefwoorden:A1 Journal article
BOF-publication weight:1
CSS-citation score:1
Authors from:Higher Education