Beaver Management in the Baltic States
Beavers have been an important component of the environment in the Baltic region for the past 10,000 years. Beavers were used intensively by humans for fur, meat, and medicinal products for thousands of years. This exploitation led to the almost complete extirpation of beavers from the Baltic region by the late 1800s. Beaver reintroduction programs were initiated in the early to mid 1900s, and the populations recovered and grew. The reintroduction programs were supplemented by the translocations of animals within the countries. In the 1960s (Lithuania) and in 1980 (Latvia) beaver hunting as a management tool began. Hunting was initially intense, but has slowed in the 1990s. The current population estimate for this region is 100,000 animals. There is also movement (immigration and emigration) of animals among the three countries and between the countries and Russia. The long-term role of beavers as a keystone species in aquatic habitats is considered critical in the region, and far outweighs any short-term economic damage they may cause.
KeywordsBaltic State Keystone Species Baltic Country Baltic Region Castor Fiber
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