Beavers - benefits for your rivers and streams

Dingbat

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there’s a whole load of biodiversity benefits....

I don’t think anyone is arguing that beavers are the complete solution to flood control, rather that they have definite benefits that with other actions... such as changes to upland management.... cumulatively improve flood control...
I have no doubt that they affect bio-diversity, I'm just wondering whether its bio-diversity for the sake of it or the promise of some magical effect which won't happen and then we might as well make hats out of them.

There is a point to this blunt view and its kind of hard to explain. I've been engaged in bio-inspired technology for a while and as fascinating as it is I have always been left with the impression that in order to get the full benefit of something bio-inspired - say swarming - you need to implement more of where that something came from - the logical conclusion is that you end up with an insect or a dog or a fish and still can't get it to do what you want - "Frankenstein" sends its regards.

So by trivial example - its like letting wolves back into Yellowstone the only thing that benefited, apart from the warm fuzzy feeling, were trout and flies you can't catch them anyway ... Or that nature reserve in Holland where naturalisation doesn't happen as expected because they breed too much, can't expand their territory and hence 3/4 of them die of starvation.
 

baca157

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I guess, over time anglers will adapt. I do agree without predation numbers could be an issue and that may take some future management. I also think that you are privileged to have had a close encounter.
I was quite pleased to see them. I never seen one in real life before and have to say they are fascinating to watch, if not a bit intimidating. I didn‘t realise how big they were until I saw one. Was also quite surprised as somehow I thought they are a mainly nocturnal animal.

Another thing I noticed is that they do not disturb the fish at all. I saw a trout feeding confidently on the surface few feet away from a swimming beaver, completely ignoring it’s presence.

Cheers,
Sebastian
 

ohanzee

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They certainly manage their habitat better than humans. Who started building dams? Who taught who? It's only when men started building them for their own reasons rivers were altered, in many cases negatively. Beaver dams don't kill rivers. In that perspective they definitely are a bigger benefit to rivers than most humans. And that is only one aspect of their knowledge. "Long ago, when the animals used to talk" is a saying without meaning, animals still talk, the saying should be: "Long ago when men understood animals", because that capacity has practically vanished in mankind.
I go along with that but we are now in a different place, we now need to manage what we changed when we got the notion that managing nature was clever, effectively have to continually manage the problems humans created.
Introductions of things tend to always focus on the rewilding nature bit, I think maybe if they focused on the numbers predicted to need culled by a guy that travels around in a beat up van dispatching foxes, deer or whatever humans think they have too many of they might see it differently.
 

lhomme

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I go along with that but we are now in a different place, we now need to manage what we changed when we got the notion that managing nature was clever, effectively have to continually manage the problems humans created.
Introductions of things tend to always focus on the rewilding nature bit, I think maybe if they focused on the numbers predicted to need culled by a guy that travels around in a beat up van dispatching foxes, deer or whatever humans think they have too many of they might see it differently.
Of course, that's why it will always be a struggle for humans to accept beavers and for beavers to adjust to humans. They do not live in the same world anymore. Goes for a lot of animals, not only beavers. It's their nature too, but a lot of people don't like what they do to it, because it affects their subjective view of the type of nature they like to walk around in from time to time. After all, it's their nature too, and they can make it look like they want.
 

ohanzee

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Of course, that's why it will always be a struggle for humans to accept beavers and for beavers to adjust to humans. They do not live in the same world anymore. Goes for a lot of animals, not only beavers. It's their nature too, but a lot of people don't like what they do to it, because it affects their subjective view of the type of nature they like to walk around in from time to time. After all, it's their nature too, and they can make it look like they want.
I find it slightly creepy that people are so willing to make profound changes to nature.
 

Laxdale

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Some google experts commenting on here.
This debate has been done to death, with the same two camps, elsewhere. The two camps tend to be locals who have to suffer the beaver devastation, and those who read books.
Cutting to the chase, before beavers were given protection in Scotland, SNH were training people up in best practice when bumping them off so they could immediately hand out licences. Every culvert and bridge, and every road running alongside a watercourse is at risk from either being blocked (flooding) or being undermined. This is already costing councils huge amounts of money they cannot afford.
Beavers have no place in areas of food production or where the human population relies on flood defences.
Beavers shouldnever be relocated unless there is 100% buy in from all the people within 100 miles of the site where they may be introduced, and who pays for any damage caused before any relocation takes place.
They are now destroying the Forth and Lomond catchments, and will spread further.
In the not too distant future people will be getting paid to cull the giant rats.
Much better to have open season on them and they will be left in peace where they cause no conflict, but will be shot where they are not wanted. (That may be coming for sea eagles in the Hebrides too, btw (another SNH fook up)).
 

Laxdale

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Laxdale obviously not a real country man the animals came long before man and his sports
*****.
The carry on with beavers on Tayside has demonstrated they are neither compatible with modern farming nor areas of high human population.
You come across as a rewilding type clown who yearns to turn back the clock but ignores the fact that the world has moved on and that the interaction man has with beavers now (high human population density) gets ignored, and bleats on about beavers being there before us, or some such other inane nonsense.
And what has sport got to do with it?
The impact upon anglers is negligible if you ignored blocked spawning burns and bank erosion. The main problem is the damage they cause.....and have you ever heard of anyone advocating releasing beavers promise to pay for the damage caused?
 

ohanzee

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Laxdale obviously not a real country man the animals came long before man and his sports
I get the essential point though, rewilding needs wild and we don't have enough of it for things to expand into, so the inevitability is when the population expands to the edges of what wild we have available they overflow into populated areas.
Personally I'd prefer beavers to people but the reality everywhere is that humans have adapted the land for themselves hence these things have died out, wherever humans are you get less land for wild things, jaguars nabbing cattle grazing cleared land on the edge of the Amazon rain forest, bears and moose in gardens in Canada, we have to consider how fair it is on the beavers.
 

ohanzee

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The Amazon is being ruined by man and his greed for palm oil. We need as a specy to back of destruction of the finite land.
Yes, we live with finite ever reducing resources, one day they will run out, in the mean time we have to work with ever finite amounts of land and live with reducing nature.

Rewilding a few things is not going to change much of the bigger picture.
 

Laxdale

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The obvious solution for beavers would be to have them on a general licence, but also a closed season the same as for deer, geese, etc. Problem beavers get dead but they get left in peace where they do no harm. No votes in that though.
 

Laxdale

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Can you expand on that? I'm amazed that anyone would think it's a good idea to go around shooting birds of prey.
Crofters on Skye , Lewis and Harris have reached the end of their tether with eagles (and south as far as Oban). SNH knows this and are trying to find a solution to the problem which is too many eagles. Needless to say, the RSPB are an impediment to finding a solution. "Compensation" is no solution, and I will not be surprised if a crofter takes matters into his own hands to save his sheep. (And the usual grouse moor/keeper/class war narrative does not apply in the west).
They are impressive birds, no longer rare, but they fairly hammer anything they can kill and eat.
 

glueman

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400 odd pairs of eagles in Scotland is not a huge number per square mile. Anyone who advocates killing them requires a long holiday courtesy of HM.
 

ohanzee

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400 odd pairs of eagles in Scotland is not a huge number per square mile. Anyone who advocates killing them requires a long holiday courtesy of HM.
Sounds like a lot to me, a pair of sea eagles have a pretty vast territory, everyone seems to like them but sea eagles are lethal if food gets lean and a newborn lamb catches their eye its as good as dead, no one wants to cull eagles but I think if you could wind the clock back most living with them would rethink their reintroduction, also they must impact on golden eagles.
 

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