2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Restoration of Idaho’s Lands: Why Beaver History is Important to the Wellbeing of Idaho

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Emily Wakild


Beavers have played a key role in shaping the landscape of Idaho. Through research the effects that this keystone species can be seen throughout the history of Idaho. With the near extinction of the beaver in the early 1800s, the landscape of Idaho has dried up and has made it unrecognizable to how it previously was. Current generations of Idahoans never knew what it was like living side by side with beaver populations and as such treat them like a pest. Until recently humans had never grasped the importance of beavers for habitat restoration. With the help of historical documentation, we review the case that beavers are a keystone species vital for ensuring healthy ecosystems (Goldfarb, 2018).

As far as we know, a great deal of time and effort is being made to bring the Beaver populations back into Idaho. In this capstone, we believe it's important to address the history of beavers in Idaho and how essential beavers are for the wellbeing of Idaho. Even though there seems to be little beaver presence recorded in Idaho, we will focus our studies onto the lands natural histories, such as the changes of landscapes, river streams, and biodiversity. It will also include the social dilemmas of the past like the profits of the fur trade, the extermination of beavers from the land property, and the removal of their natural habitat. Sources like these that could possibly help us identify the beaver demographics of the past and the present. This is important because by looking at the past, we can save Idaho's landscape and restore what has been lost before or possibly improve it. The capstone will be made to raise awareness to Idahoans about the importance of beavers and how they can save Idaho's watersheds.

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