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The Beaver: Its Life and Impact

By: Dietland Müller-Schwarze

216 pages, Col plates, figs, tabs

Comstock Publishing Associates

Hardback | Apr 2011 | Edition: 2 | #189878 | ISBN-13: 9780801450105
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £33.50 $43/€40 approx

About this book

Beavers can and do dramatically change the landscape. The beaver is a keystone species-their skills as foresters and engineers create and maintain ponds and wetlands that increase biodiversity, purify water, and prevent large-scale flooding. Biologists have long studied their daily and seasonal routines, family structures, and dispersal patterns. As human development encroaches into formerly wild areas, property owners and government authorities need new, nonlethal strategies for dealing with so-called nuisance beavers. At the same time, the complex behavior of beavers intrigues visitors at parks and other wildlife viewing sites because it is relatively easy to observe.

In an up-to-date, exhaustively illustrated, and comprehensive book on beaver biology and management, Dietland Mueller-Schwarze and Lixing Sun gather a wealth of scientific knowledge about both the North American and Eurasian beaver species. The Beaver is designed to satisfy the curiosity and answer the questions of anyone with an interest in these animals, from students who enjoy watching beaver ponds at nature centers to homeowners who hope to protect their landscaping. Photographs taken by the authors document every aspect of beaver behavior and biology, the variety of their constructions, and the habitats that depend on their presence.

Beavers are keystone animals who have played a large role in shaping the American biosphere. They also drew the American map by luring the trappers and mountainmen into the wilderness, and so promoting westward expansion. Although once nearly eradicated because of a frivolous fashion for men's hats, they are now making a dramatic comeback. Their behavior and ecology are perhaps more familiar than those of any other of our native mammal species, yet no comprehensive and up-to-date modern scientific treatise about the beaver has been available. This concise yet comprehensive book fills a glaring gap in the literature about one of the most interesting and important species in the northern ecosystem. -Bernd Heinrich, author of Winter World

This book is a wonderful blend of natural and social history that satisfies all appetites in explaining the role and significance of beaver in contemporary landscapes. It is full of useful and relevant information about the return of nature's second best engineer and gives us a blueprint as to how we might work with these engaging animals to produce healthier and environmentally more sound environments, even in urban and suburban areas. I know of no better current source of information from which to learn about beaver and their ways as well as appreciate the complex history and relationship of people with these amazing animals. -John Hadidian, Director, Urban Wildlife Programs, The Humane Society of the United States.

The Beaver is a modern synthesis of the beaver's ecology. It is a pleasure to read. The prose is easy to follow, as is the logic, and the insights about the beaver's biology are enlightening. This book is most suitable for a broad audience and ought to enjoy a great following. For the technical reader there is a good reference section following each chapter, as there needs to be, since the book goes beyond natural history and also deals with contentious management issues. It is thus more than an introduction to an animal that played a very great role in the history of North America. This synthesis also poses challenges for the future. This book should not be missing from a wildlife manager's book shelf. --Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, The University of Calgary.


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