Using Keystone Species for Restoration
Dr. Jared Romero
Beavers provide a variety of services that benefit our ecosystems. They are considered a keystone species, responsible for creating very diverse, and structurally complex systems. These systems are compatible with many kinds of organisms: plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, etc. Only after the birth of environmentalism and conservation can we translate how the loss of beaver, which were nearly trapped to extinction over the last couple centuries, can reduce complexity and biodiversity throughout a landscape. Reduction of complexity can cause a decline in ecosystem function. Ecosystem functions such as flood control, natural water filtration and decomposition of suspended sediments and organic matter in watersheds can be lost. These effects are felt by humans, as well as aquatic and other terrestrial species. For humans, beaver also provide recreational opportunities like fishing, kayaking, and bird watching. Beaver are a resilient species and have the ability to rehabilitate ecosystems. Using the one health framework when reintroducing or mimicking beaver engineering and practices in target areas may increase chances of success. Especially when restoring structural complexity and biodiversity in degraded sites like wetland, and riparian areas near urban areas.
Fulton, Mike and Romero, Jared, "Using Keystone Species for Restoration" (2020). 2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 60.