Beaver-induced spatiotemporal patch dynamics affect landscape-level environmental heterogeneity

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Sonja Kivinen et al 2020 Environ. Res. Lett. 15 094065.

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Title: Beaver-induced spatiotemporal patch dynamics affect landscape-level environmental heterogeneity
Author: Kivinen, Sonja; Nummi, Petri; Kumpula, Timo
Publisher: IOP Science
Date: 2020
Language: en
Belongs to series: Environmental Research Letters 15 9 (2020)
ISSN: 1748-9326
Abstract: Beavers (Castor sp.) are ecosystem engineers that cause significant changes to their physical environment and alter the availability of resources to other species. We studied flood dynamics created by American beaver (C. canadensis K.) in a southern boreal landscape in Finland in 1970–2018. We present for the first time, to our knowledge, a temporally continuous long-term study of beaver-induced flood disturbances starting from the appearance of beaver in the area. During the 49 years, the emergence of new sites flooded by beaver and repeated floods (61% of the sites) formed a dynamic mosaic characterized by clustered patterns of beaver sites. As beaver dispersal proceeded, connectivity of beaver sites increased significantly. The mean flood duration was approximately three years, which highlights the importance of datasets with high-temporal resolution in detecting beaver-induced disturbances. An individual site was often part of the active flood mosaic over several decades, although the duration and the number of repeated floods at different sites varied considerably. Variation of flood-inundated and post-flood phases at individual sites resulted in a cumulative number of unique patches that contribute to environmental heterogeneity in space and time. A disturbance mosaic consisting of patches differing by successional age and flood history is likely to support species richness and abundance of different taxa and facilitate whole species communities. Beavers are thus a suitable means to be used in restoration of riparian habitat due to their strong and dynamic influence on abiotic environment and its biotic consequences.
Subject: american beaver
castor canadensis K.
ecosystem engineer
disturbance dynamics
landscape mosaic
patch dymanics
unique patches
southern boreal
environmental heterogeneity
long-term study
clustered patterns
beaver sites
flood duration
flood-inundated phases
post-flood phases
space and time
successional age
flood history
species communities
restoration of riparian habitat
abiotic environment
biotic consequences
Subject (ysa): amerikanmajava
castor canadensis K.
boreaalinen vyöhyke
ympäristön heterogeenisyys
tulvan kesto
aika ja paikka
abioottinen ympäristö
eloton ympäristö
bioottiset seuraukset
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