Behavioral and Ecological Characteristics of A “Climax” Population of Beaver (Castor Canadensis)

  • Dietland Müller-Schwarze
  • Bruce A. Schulte


We describe the characteristics of an unexploited (unharvested) beaver population in New York State. The results are based on data collected from 1984 to 1993. The following features differed from exploited (harvested) populations: Beavers colonized steeper stream gradients; Families contained a large percentage of 3-year-olds (young that stay one more year); Preferred tree species became depleted and beaver fed on less palatable species; and they extended their trails to more distant foraging areas. In other ways, our population resembled trapped populations: Densities of colonies per stream kilometer did not differ from those reported in other studies; Body weights did not differ from those in other studies; Family size was within the range of other populations; The numbers of scent mounds in territories are not reduced or increased; and The response to artificial scent marks does not differ in intensity from other areas. In conclusion, the beavers are adaptable and need little management by humans. Beaver management and control of beaver numbers are driven by conflicts with humans, and not by any needs of the beavers themselves.


Sugar Maple Scent Mark Beaver Pond Black Cherry Beaver Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dietland Müller-Schwarze
    • 1
  • Bruce A. Schulte
    • 2
  1. 1.State University of New YorkCollege of Environmental Science and ForestrySyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Providence CollegeDepartment of BiologyProvidenceRhode Island

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