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Why Do Beavers Leave Home? Lodge Abandonment in an Invasive Population in Patagonia

Feldman, Mariano J. and Montoro Girona, Miguel and Grosbois, Guillaume and Pietrek, Alejandro G. (2020). Why Do Beavers Leave Home? Lodge Abandonment in an Invasive Population in Patagonia. Forests. 11 , 1161
[Research article]

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Abstract

Research Highlights: Lodge abandonment by beavers is apparently a common phenomenon in Patagonia, but it is still poorly understood and we ignore what drives it. In relatively slow growth Nothofagus forests, resource depletion can impact abandonment while water availability may be a major driver in the semiarid steppe. Background and Objectives: North American beaver (Castor canadensis) was introduced in 1946 on the island of Tierra del Fuego (TDF) in southern Argentina. Since then, beavers have become a major disturbance affecting not only forest but also treeless steppe landscapes. Our goal was to determine the factors affecting lodge abandonment by beavers in two habitats of TDF: forest and steppe. Materials and Methods: A total of 47 lodges were surveyed between February and March from 2012 to 2014 in both habitat types, 22 in the forest and 25 in the steppe. To explain factors involved in lodge abandonment by beavers, we measured the following variables: water level variation, stream gradient, vegetation cover adjacent to shore and forest structure. Results: We recorded 24 abandonments events, with a similar proportion of lodges abandoned in both habitats. Our results revealed that lodge abandonment was mostly linked to water level fluctuations irrespective of habitat type. The water level at the entrances of the lodge generally decreased in abandoned lodges. Variables that characterize understory cover had some influence on lodge abandonment in the forest, and no effect in the steppe. Conclusions: Water level variation was associated with lodge abandonment in both habitats, and we found some evidence of resource depletion in the forest. However, we caution that changes in water level may be not only due to extrinsic factors but rather to beaver's own activities or to a decay in pond maintenance following abandonment.

Authors/Creators:Feldman, Mariano J. and Montoro Girona, Miguel and Grosbois, Guillaume and Pietrek, Alejandro G.
Title:Why Do Beavers Leave Home? Lodge Abandonment in an Invasive Population in Patagonia
Series Name/Journal:Forests
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:11
Article number:1161
Number of Pages:14
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:1999-4907
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:Argentina, biological invasions, ecosystem engineer, lodge occupancy, Nothofagus
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109724
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109724
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3390/f11111161
Web of Science (WoS)000593445000001
ID Code:21256
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:18 Jan 2021 11:23
Metadata Last Modified:18 Jan 2021 11:31

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