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What is the future for beavers in Britain?
8 December, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 7:45 pmFree
Could beavers be successfully re-established in Britain and what affect would they have on local biodiversity?
Beavers are ecosystem engineers which, by building dams and channels, create and maintain wetlands. Through these activities, beavers have the potential to increase local biodiversity, reduce downstream flooding, and improve water quality. In Britain, beavers were hunted to extinction hundreds of years ago. Recent interest in rewilding has led to a number of small-scale beaver restoration projects.
The outcomes of these projects, combined with a controversial unofficial release of beavers in Scotland and Devon, raise questions about the future of beavers in Britain. This meeting will discuss whether beavers should be restored in sufficient numbers and across a wide enough area to allow them to fulfil their potential as ecosystem engineers. What would be the consequences of beaver restoration for biodiversity, and for waterway users such as anglers? Could beaver restoration contribute to climate-change adaptation by acting as a natural flood defence? And, if beavers become re-established in Britain, would European conservation agreements lead to a legal requirement to conserve them in the long term?