The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2021 Impact Factor from Clarivate for the Herpetological Journal is 1.194, an increase of 0.332 from 2020.

pdf 04. A review of the influence of beaver Castor fiber on amphibian assemblages in the floodplains of European temperate streams and rivers


Open Access


Authors: Lutz Dalbeck, Monika Hachtel & Róisín Campbell-Palmer

Abstract: Once widespread throughout Eurasia and hunted nearly to extinction, the Eurasian beaver Castor fiber has returned to large parts of its former range, largely through active conservation measures. Beavers can substantially alter small, low order streams and their floodplains through dam construction, burrowing activities and tree felling. Therefore, it is presumed they can significantly influence amphibian distributions, species richness and numbers. We undertook a literature review to compare the available data addressing the effects of beaver dams on amphibians in streams of central temperate and boreal Europe. All 19 amphibian species occurring in the study region were found in beaver ponds, despite their distinctly different habitat requirements. Amphibian species acting as pioneers / early colonisers were under-represented in beaver ponds compared to typical forest species. Open country and ubiquitous species showed intermediate patterns. Beaver ponds in headwater streams often supported the entire spectrum of species occurring in the surrounding landscape, and species numbers in beaver modified headwater streams were comparable to those in floodplains of larger natural rivers. In small headwater streams, beavers tended to be the primary providers of essential habitat for amphibians. In contrast, beaver ponds in the floodplains of larger rivers appeared to have less effect and supported lower average species numbers compared to beaver ponds in headwater streams. We propose that beavers and their habitat creating activities are pivotal determinants of amphibian species richness in the headwater streams, which account for 60–80 % of the water bodies in catchment areas in temperate Europe. By creating habitat for endangered amphibian species, beavers and their ability to modify habitats offer extensive opportunities to implement many aspects of the European Water Framework Directive across the continent and to restore amphibian habitats, contributing to their long-term conservation.

Keywords: natural floodplains, wetland restoration, amphibian habitat, ecosystem engineers, species richness, headwater stream, Anura, Urodela

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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

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