Beavers are turning ‘Tinderbox Britain’ into a network of wetlands to escape the worst of the drought
Beavers have helped turn part of the burned south-west England landscape into a nourishing wetland by constructing a network of dams.
Drone footage captured by Clinton Devon Estates shows how beaver building activity has kept an East Devon wetland green and hydrated compared to the parched fields that surround it.
This is despite the UK experiencing one of its hottest summers on record, with large parts of England reported as having a drought and the South West region being one of the worst hit.
East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Ranger Ed Lagdon said: “It’s incredible to see this area when conditions have been so challenging over the past few weeks.
“Beavers will alter the environment around them and manipulate conditions to suit them, and in this location the beavers have used sticks and mud to create several dams that are now holding back large columns of water.
Drone footage captured by Clinton Devon Estates shows how beaver nesting has kept a wetland in East Devon green and hydrated. This is compared to the parched fields in the immediate vicinity
The footage shows a stark contrast between the two areas, with the dam network providing moisture to the area on the right, while the area on the left shows the scorched fields caused by the heatwave
“The water is up to two feet high in some areas and is fantastic for wildlife like birds and invertebrates.”
However, the beavers are not a perfect solution to the recent drought, as the dam-building rodents can completely inundate some farmland.
Clinton Devon Estates Agriculture Manager Sam Briant-Evans said: “We have lost about two acres of the field to graze our dairy herd – one acre of which is now completely submerged.
“The concern we have is if we keep moving them, they might migrate upstream, which is closer to the main farm. For us as an estate, this is a bit of a conundrum as we can see both sides of the equation.
“There is no clear solution. What this underscores, however, is that with the right management and by working with them, they can help adapt to climate change.’
From October it will be illegal to disturb, harm or kill beavers thanks to new government laws legally protecting the species in England.
Beavers and their dam nets have some disadvantages as some areas are completely submerged in water. This means that farmers may not be able to use part of their land for grazing cattle
The area was part of a five-year study by Exeter University to examine the impact of beavers on the Devonshire landscape, which was completed in 2020
This followed a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the future of beavers, and plans were made to reintroduce them into the wild to help combat climate change.
The area was part of a study by Exeter University to study the impact of beavers on the Devonshire landscape.
John Varley, Director of Clinton Devon Estates, said: “In the right place, beavers can bring great benefits to wildlife, then the environment and society, including increased biodiversity.
“During the project, we learned a lot about these benefits, such as cleaner water, natural flood management and habitat creation.
“We believe that the costs of managing beavers by government are properly funded and far outweighed by the social and economic benefits to nature and the public.”
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/beavers-transform-tinderbox-britain-into-network-of-wetlands-to-escape-worst-of-the-drought/ Beavers are turning ‘Tinderbox Britain’ into a network of wetlands to escape the worst of the drought