Interactions between the Eurasian beaver and riparian woody vegetation along the Pechora-Volga meridian
Beaver groups were examined from the dry steppe zone to the northern taiga zone from 1992 to 2014. The only region where beaver foraging activity limits the development of riparian trees and shrubs is the northern taiga, but here the effect of beaver on riparian plant communities is not critical in most settlements. However, even in the northern taiga tree forage availability is not a factor limiting the development of the beaver population. The beaver has its greatest impact on trees of preferred species and diameters. In 33.6% of settlements on the Pechora River and tributaries in the upper reaches, and in 17% of settlements in the Volosnitsa River I observed a shortage of preferred beaver foods. In the Samara lakes beavers remove two and half times the amount of woody vegetation on average compared to beavers living along the river. In 91.2% of settlements beavers removed up to 3% of the total woody plant resources per year. The trophic level base is not a factor limiting the development of the beaver population in all studied regions from the steppe zone to the northern taiga. Beaver foraging activity does not have a negative impact on plant communities, but the southern taiga woody vegetation is recovering faster than woody vegetation in the forest-steppe zone. In northern taiga beavers prefer birch with diameters up to 30 cm even when plentiful amounts of shrubby willows are present.DOI: 10.15298/rusjtheriol.15.1.09
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