Using Softwoods to Protect Commercial Forest Stands Against Damage by European Beaver (Castor Fíber L.)

22 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2022

See all articles by Ondřej Mikulka

Ondřej Mikulka

Mendel University in Brno

Zdeněk Adamec

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jiří Kamler

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Miloslav Homolka

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jakub Drimaj

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Radim Plhal

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Petr Pyszko

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

This study focuses on factors that affect tree species selection by European beavers in commercial and close-to-nature forests, with the aim of identifying practical proposals for protecting target commercial tree species while still maintaining high numbers of beavers. In forests dominated by commercial tree species, the food of beavers mainly comprises oak ( Quercus sp.) and ash ( Fraxinus sp.). Softwoods such as willow ( Salix sp.), which are rarely subjected to forest management, tend to be preferred by beavers over commercial species. As such, they have the potential to act as a ‘distracting’ species, reducing pressure on those species important in forestry. In this paper, we illustrate specific examples where damage to commercial species has been reduced by softwood presence, and suggest potential parameters for softwood buffer zones, based on those known to affect browsing by beavers, i.e. water distance, tree species composition and tree diameter. Overall, our results suggest that damage to Central European commercial forest stands can be reduced by growing dense softwood stands (min. density 0.3 ha per beaver territory) at a distance of 10–20 m from the water’s edge.

Keywords: buffer zones, non-lethal control measures, forest damage, forest protection, beaver management

Suggested Citation

Mikulka, Ondřej and Adamec, Zdeněk and Kamler, Jiří and Homolka, Miloslav and Drimaj, Jakub and Plhal, Radim and Pyszko, Petr, Using Softwoods to Protect Commercial Forest Stands Against Damage by European Beaver (Castor Fíber L.). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4019860 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4019860

Ondřej Mikulka (Contact Author)

Mendel University in Brno ( email )

Zemedelska 1
Brno, 61200
Czech Republic

Zdeněk Adamec

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Jiří Kamler

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Miloslav Homolka

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Jakub Drimaj

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Radim Plhal

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Petr Pyszko

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

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