On a recent CPD event organised for FPCR’s York Ecology Team we were privileged to visit the recently created beaver enclosure in North Yorkshire, part of a 5 year trial by the Forestry Commission to investigate their interaction with artificial flood control measures.
The large enclosure, in a secure location in Cropton Forest, is now the home to the first family of beavers in Yorkshire for hundreds of years and, only seven months after their reintroduction in April 2019, we were able to observe at first hand evidence of the work of these animals.
The habitat, already undergoing visible changes in vegetation and topography with clear field signs of beaver activity, included coppiced trees and natural dams along with the related changes in hydrology including pond creation, new canal systems and the beginnings of wetland areas around the river.
Ian Hunter, Principal Ecologist said: “It was brilliant to see first-hand the influence these four beavers are already having on the landscape and the visible changes to the woodland and river habitats which is already clear to see could bring some real ecosystem benefits and potentially be part of a natural approach to flood management.
We have no doubt that as the reintroduction of beavers continues, this species will become an significant consideration within the planning system and for land management so we are delighted to have this opportunity to build on our knowledge of the species and at such an early stage.”
FPCR York have been invited back for a return visit in Summer 2020 to check in on the beaver family and observe the continuing changes these natural flood engineers will make on their immediate landscape.