AUK government announcement last summer that a group of beavers on a Devon river could remain in the area was the culmination of a successful 5-year rewilding trial, involving bodies including the Devon Wildlife Trust and researchers at the University of Exeter. The trial monitored the hydrological and ecological impacts of a small population of beavers in a lowland UK river. The Devon beavers are the first to live in the wild in England for four centuries. The Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) was hunted to extinction in Britain in the sixteenth century.
Beavers have many positive impacts on the landscape. Their dams slow river flows and can improve water quality. Their presence can also increase riparian biodiversity. But their activities can also damage woodland, undermine river banks and impede the drainage of agricultural land.
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