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Measures of habitat change - Devon Wildlife Trust/Viridor Beaver Project

DBRC are undertaking Initial analysis of deadwood & dropdisk data from 2010/11/12 to indicate habitat change attributed to the beavers during this period.

This includes using a range of data which has been collated over the last 3 years and allows for analysis of the average sward height & change in species composition.

DBRC are using ‘Line-Intercept Sampling for Fallen Wood formulae’ to calculate volume/hectare which will allow the project team to measure the beavers impact more accurately.

Beaver ponds both slow the flow of a watercourse and increase the surface area of water. In the slower stream sections such as beaver ponds, the density and number of species of aquatic invertebrates can be several times higher than in faster sections. The increased surface area created by the pond allows a larger amount of leaf litter to fall into the water which provides more food for the aquatic invertebrates as well as allowing more habitat for other invertebrates such as dragonflies. In some studies, the number of dragonfly species has doubled or even trebled after beaver activity. Beavers create a variety of deadwood habitats for invertebrates by directly felling trees and by flooding woodland through dam building.  Fish can also benefit as the increase in aquatic and semi-aquatic invertebrates results in greater feeding opportunities, particularly for non-salmonid species that feed on bottom dwelling invertebrates.

Devon Wildlife Trust/Viridor Beaver project

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