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9th January 2023

The benefits beavers may bring to Scottish rivers, streams and water resources

Beaver image. Photo credit Tomasz Chmielewski (2012). Available at

Beavers are well known for their ability to transform the environment through dam building and other activities. This CREW report, based on evidence from 120 studies of beaver populations worldwide, provides an evidence review of the role of beavers in modifying physical processes, and the potential benefits they may bring for Scottish rivers, streams and water resources. Beavers could make important contributions to improving the condition of Scotland’s rivers, helping to improve water supply and quality as well as creating habitat, sequestering carbon and restoring rivers.

Based on the findings of the report, riparian management appraisals should consider the potential for beaver activity to contribute to ecosystem services. However, discussion with landowners and wider societal groups is required to inform such appraisals and to help mitigate local adverse effects of beaver activity. The report conclusions have also contributed to the Implementation Plan of Scotland’s Beaver Strategy 2022-2045. The key findings of the report are summarised in the Policy Note.

The main report and policy note can be found here.

Photo credit Tomasz Chmielewski (2012). Available at