Five years of research by Devon Wildlife Trust shows that beavers are brilliant for people and wildlife.
They create a fantastic range of wetland habitats that provide homes for other wildlife and greatly enhance conditions for nature to thrive and store carbon.
The channels, dams and wetlands that beavers engineer hold back water and release it more slowly after heavy rain, helping to reduce the risk of flooding.
Their activities prevent soil being washed away after rainfall – their dams filter water, cleaning it and reducing pollution downstream.
A decent beaver strategy
The Wildlife Trusts want the England beaver strategy to achieve its full potential and are calling on the government to ensure beavers thrive in the wild by supporting carefully targeted reintroduction projects, bolstering populations where necessary to ensure their long-term health.
Landowners should be helped to make space for watercourses and wetlands created by beavers through appropriate schemes and funding programmes.
Systems of management should ensure beavers are properly protected in a flexible and simple way that avoids excessive administrative burdens on land-managers and regulators.
Local beaver management groups should be supported to deliver information, advice and assistance to maximise the benefits beavers bring and minimise potential conflict.
Mapping beaver reintroductions
The Wildlife Trusts are at the forefront of beaver reintroduction in the UK and are releasing a record number of beavers in 2021 – 20 years after bringing the first-ever beavers back to Britain.
Around 20 beavers will be released this year in fenced areas. In Scotland and Devon, the populations have been allowed to become wild; elsewhere, beavers have been released in enclosed areas.
Funded by The Wildlife Trusts, Professor Richard Brazier of University of Exeter is undertaking a mapping exercise for England and Wales to assess which areas are suitable for beaver reintroductions.
South-west England has now been fully mapped and Professor Brazier and his team are already progressing with mapping south-east England. This mapping work is expected to extend to all of England and Wales by March 2022.
Areas that could be suitable for beavers in Scotland have been mapped by NatureScot.
Click here to add your voice to The Wildlife Trusts call for an ambitious beaver strategy.