04/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Major Scientific Study Says Beavers Increase Biodiversity

Would you like a family of beavers moving into your backyard? Seems this primarily nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent could be returning to Europe after centuries of extinction.

According to The Guardian, up to four families of beavers will soon call a secluded forest in south-west Scotland home, and conservationists also hope to reintroduce them to England.


Photo courtesy of Flickr

Beavers, despite a bad reputation for destructive behavior, are actually beneficial to rivers and wildlife. According to several international studies from organizations these critters can kick-start diversity. The Guardian reports:


Photo via Flickr

Despite their notoriety for nibbling their way through trees to create their immense dams, according to the report by Natural England and conservation charity People's Trust for Endangered Species, they could have a significant, but largely positive effect on English rivers and wildlife. Studies from all over the world have shown that they can increase the variety of plants, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, as well as mammals such as water voles, otters and shrews. Their dam-building habit can also increase flooding, damage crops and may affect some fish populations.


Photo via Flickr

Having experience with beavers in rural Western Massachusetts, I can say with some authority that this can be tricky business. Beavers, after all, are not urban planners. The trees that they object to, or the lakes they create out of once solid land, may not go over well with the neighbors.

But perhaps, as you watch your driveway flood, you must respect this persistent little rodent: It is, perhaps, the only creature that so actively fights against man to keep the world in its natural state.

More From TreeHugger on Beavers

Beavers Care About the Environment Too
Plans to "Totally Eradicate" Tierra del Fuego's Invasive Beavers
TreeHugger Forums • View topic - Is fur green?
Climate Change Causing Near Daily Alteration of Entire Landscapes

More From Mairi Beautyman on Huffington Post
Could You Live Without a Refrigerator?
The Octuplets and their Massive Carbon Footprint: 30,400 Disposable Diapers and Counting
The Top Five Most Popular New Year's Resolutions And How Being Green Can Help You Keep Them
Five Comics Giving (Anti) Environmental Messages
Obama, Bring on the Green White House
Five Ways to Green Your Yoga Workout