Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Distribution patterns of the native Eurasian and the non-native North American beaver in Finland-possible factors affecting the slow range expansion of the native species.

Abstract

Distribution patterns of species are affected by resource availability, dispersal, disturbance and population dynamics. The smaller population size and range of the native Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) compared to the non-native North American beaver (Castor canadensis) in Finland raise questions on reasons for the slower range expansion of the native species. We compared the population growth rates and the spread of both species from their release sites. We also studied the factors possibly affecting the spread of the Eurasian beaver in South western Finland in more detail. We found that the North American beaver has spread longer distances than the Eurasian beaver, but we did not find evidence for movement barriers constraining the expansion rate of the native species. Lack of high-quality habitats does not seem to constrain the expansion to nearby areas either. Despite this, the Eurasian beaver population has grown to a high density close to its reintroduction site, and it has started to spread to novel areas only recently. We conclude that the expansion of the native beaver in Finland seems to be controlled by factors other than those related to barriers for movement: movement behavior and population dynamics, which require further investigation.