Beaver impact maps finished
In July, we finished our beaver impact maps. Frauke Ecke, responsible for the impact maps, tells us about the work and the result.
What is the aim of the maps?
− The aim is to increase awareness and knowledge of the profound environmental effects of beaver dams – at local and catchment scale – on water quality in general and mercury in particular.
− The maps can be used to illustrate the impact of beaver management, for example beaver dam removal, on mercury dynamics in catchments that are colonized by beavers. Considering the still continuing expansion of beavers in Sweden and elsewhere, the methods that we used to develop the maps can also be used to simulate future scenarios of mercury in catchments where beavers are absent today, but that might be colonized in the future.
How was the result?
− The result was maps for specific catchments in shape format, which means the maps can be used in a Geographic Information System (GIS) to spatially visualize the beaver impact. Since we also modelled different scenarios of beaver density, the user can also apply the maps for future projections of land use and beaver density.
Were there any difficulties creating the maps?
− Our maps are based on models, and models are only as good as the data that are used to generate them. For our task, we made some assumptions on current and future beaver density. It took quite some time to collect and gather the mercury data that we used for the modelling. The data processing took quite some while due to “heavy” data.
How will the maps be used in the future?
− We think that this kind of maps will be requested more in the future. The maps not only give spatially explicit information on beaver impacts at different spatial scales, but they are also visually appealing. Our modelling approach can not only be used for mercury but also for other elements and substances.
The beaver impact maps will soon be published at slu.se.