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Müller-Schwarze, Dietland

The Beaver

Natural History of a Wetlands Engineer


    86,95 € / $99.95 / £79.00*

    eBook (PDF)
    Second Edition
    Publication Date:
    September 2011
    Copyright year:
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    Aims and Scope

    The Beaver: Its Life and Impact 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 and land managers. Color and black-and-white photographs document every aspect of beaver behavior and biology, the variety of their constructions, and the habitats that depend on their presence.A second edition of The Beaver: Ecology and Behavior of a Wetland Engineer, published by Cornell University Press under its Comstock Publishing Associates imprint in 2003, this book has been revised throughout and includes a new section on population genetics and features updated data about the beaver's range in North America, reintroduction efforts in Europe, and information about the world's largest beaver dam, discovered in northern Alberta in 2010 and visible from space, as well as the most current bibliography on the subject.As this book shows, 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.


    192 pages
    19 tables, 14 charts/graphs, 3 maps, 22 halftones, 7 line drawings, 50 color illustrations in 16-page insert

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    Müller-SchwarzeDietland: Dietland Muller-Schwarze is Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He is the author of The Behavior of Penguins: Adapted to Ice and Tropics. Lixing Sun is Associate Professor of Biology at Central Washington University. He is the author of The World of Animals: Mammals.


    "Everybody in the wildlife field knows about beavers and how they modify their environment by building lodges and dams and by cutting trees for food. However, for most people, the knowledge of beaver ecology stops there, and until now, books on beaver ecology were either outdated or too popularized. Times have changed, and this book comes to the rescue of those who wish to gain much greater insights into beaver ecology and behavior without having to read piles of scientific literature.... This is helped further by 50 clear photographs of beavers and their environment.... Overall, this is a must-have book for the beaver enthusiast and wildlife manager, or even for the history buff wishing to better understand the animal that put North America on the map.""Among native North American mammals, none has had a more powerful influence on the history of North American than the beaver. Although the eclectic literature on the beaver is rich, it is scattered. This book is the first to provide a synthesis of that literature.... It discusses the biology of the beaver, its behavior, including building dams and canals, and population dynamics.... It is a major resource accessible to any interested reader. Illustrated with black-and-white photos and a colored photo insert, the book is a necessary addition to the shelves of wildlife, conservation ecology, natural history, and general libraries. Essential."Justin Wright:"Anyone with an interest in observing the natural world would be hard pressed to come across evidence of beaver activity and not be filled with questions. What is the purpose of the elaborate dams that beavers build? How do beavers decide which trees to cut down? What effects do beavers have on other organisms' In this ambitious book, the authors attempt to answer these questions and more about the beaver.... It contains useful information for wildlife and land managers, mammalogists, ecologists, and anyone who has ever been curious about beavers and their effects on both landscapes and history."Bernd Heinrich, author of Winter World (reviewing the first edition):"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.""This book takes a comprehensive look at the behavior, natural history, and ecology of the North American and Eurasian species of beaver.... For wild animal population managers, zoologists, and naturalists, this book presents practical advice regarding beaver management and shows how the species can be an important ally in the restoration efforts of the wetlands. An intriguing book that many will enjoy reading. Nicely done."Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, The University of Calgary:"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."John Hadidian, Director, Urban Wildlife Programs, The Humane Society of the United States (reviewing the first edition):"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.""Revered by naturalists, loved by children, and dreaded by golf course maintenance crews, the North American beaver is a charismatic, often controversial symbol of wildlife's resurgence in the human-altered landscape. For anyone keen to learn more about this species, this book is an excellent reference."

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