Beaver dam and lodge

Title Info
Common name Beaver
Scientific name Castor canadensis
Taxonomic group Castoridae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Wetlands, aquatic; Forests
Forests Temperate coniferous forest
Wetlands and aquatic Lakes, ponds
Nutrient cycles Water
Ecological interactions Herbivory; Ecosystem engineering
Selection and adaptations Selection
Selection Morphology
Change over time Disturbance; Succession
Succession Secondary succession
Disturbance Other
Organisms Animals
Animals Mammals
Date 1995
Location Colorado,USA,North America

Beaver dam and lodge, Colorado. Beavers can have tremendous impacts on the ecosystems where they live. They can flood a forest, killing all of the trees, by damming a stream and creating a pond. This image shows a beaver dam in the foreground and a beaver lodge or home in the background. Once the pond is created, many species of aquatic and wetland species gain new habitat. Eventually, when the beavers move to a different site, their dam will break, the pond will drain, and the slow process of succession will begin on the wet soil left behind. First a meadow will form, then shrubs and pioneer tree species will begin growing, and eventually a mature forest of late successional tree species will develop, decades after the beavers leave. Because of the profound changes they can spur, beavers are sometimes referred to as ecosystem engineers or keystone species, due to the outsized impact of their behavior on local ecosystems. Like other rodents, the beaver?s teeth keep growing throughout life. Without their remarkable teeth, they would be unable to cut trees and create dams.