by Pru Allison, 10th November 2021
Beavers might well be returning to Shropshire in a trial project to help control wetlands
Ecosystems are clever things, and the slightest change can have a staggering ripple effect. This delicate balance has the Shropshire Wildlife Trust convinced that bringing beavers to the county is a positive move for the local environment.
“It’s not a wild reintroduction of beavers, but a trial in an enclosed area to manage specific habitat,” explains Rachel Schofield from Shropshire Wildlife Trust.
Although still in early stages, the trust hopes to release beavers into an enclosure at Shrewsbury’s Old River Bed nature reserve. Beavers are considered a ‘keystone species’ and have a positive impact on their environment. The reserve is swampy, and the fast growth of trees has to be kept in check. This is a job easily undertaken by beavers who are able to coppice trees and keep them from infringing too much on the sensitive habitat.
“Beavers are brilliant animals and, following several trials, we’ve already seen how reintroduction can have a positive impact for nature, climate, and people,” notes Dr Rob Stoneman, director of landscape recovery at The Wildlife Trusts. “Beavers can help improve water quality, benefit other species, reduce flood risk and contribute to carbon storage by creating new wetlands.”
Eager beavers should keep their eyes peeled for Charlotte Van Praagh’s feature on the rodents in our upcoming Spring issue.