Impact by North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) on Forest Plant Composition in the Wilds, a Surface-Mined Landscape in Southeastern Ohio
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Citation:The Ohio Journal of Science, v108, n2 (April, 2008), 9-15.
The impacts of Castor canadensis Kuhl (American beaver) on local ecosystems through foraging and dam construction activities have been well documented. Here we examined beaver foraging activity in the Wilds, an ecosystem in southeastern Ohio that was most recently subjected to surface mining between the late 1960s and the middle 1980s. Our objective was to make detailed observations of recent and past foraging patterns with the aim of better assessing the impact beaver might have on the recovery of forests in this altered landscape. One active site, a site downstream of the active impoundment and two recently abandoned beaver dam sites were chosen as study sites. At all sites, terrestrial foraging by beaver was generally concentrated within 20 m of water's edge and declined sharply beyond 40 m. Foraging activity was concentrated on, but did not seem to be limiting, the dominant standing species. Thus, there was little indication that foraging activity might be directly altering the nature of forest development in this community. However, other less direct impacts such as consequences arising from damming activities may well yet yield important and long-term effects in this recovering ecosystem.
Author Institution: Department of Biology, Muskingum College
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