River Otter Beaver Trial: Science and Evidence Report
The River Otter Beaver Trial was a five-year project (2015-2020) to investigate the effects of a wild-living population of beavers on the River Otter. Beavers were released under a licence issued to the Devon Wildlife Trust – the first to be issued in England – and a detailed programme of research was undertaken through a Science and Evidence Forum chaired by Professor Richard Brazier here at the University of Exeter.
The Science and Evidence Report summarises the scientific findings from this five-year trial and is available to download below. The trial partners have also published a Beaver Management Strategy Framework: download the Strategy Framework here.
Download the full report
You can also read the report online below.
Download a chapter
- Chapter 1: Living with beavers on the River Otter
- Chapter 2: Biodiversity including fish species
- Chapter 3: Ecosystem services
- Chapter 4: Social attitudes and perceptions
- Chapter 5: Beaver health and population
- Beaver impacts on floodplain pasture
- Beaver wetland in farmland upstream of a flood-prone village
- High-profile beaver territory with extensive public access
- Beavers living in and around a water-supply reservoir
- Release of beavers into a Country Wildlife Site
- Conflict between landowners experiencing beaver activity
The links below contain full peer-reviews of the recent report authored by Cowx which attempted to review the River Otter Beaver Trial Science and Evidence report.
More information about the trial including the monitoring plan and the annual reports can be viewed on the Devon Wildlife Trust website.
The River Otter Beaver Trial was led by Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) working in partnership with The University of Exeter, Derek Gow Consultancy, and Clinton Devon Estates. Expert independent advice was also provided by Dr Roisin Campbell Palmer, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Professor John Gurnell, and Gerhard Schwab, an international beaver expert based in Bavaria.
The River Otter Beaver Trial was supported by The Peter De Haan Charitable Trust, The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Garfield Weston Foundation, Wellcome Trust, Natural Environment Research Council, the Tale Valley Trust and generous donations from local residents, local businesses, DWT members and the general public.