Beaver Activity and Tree Preference at Glen Helen Nature Reserve


Beaver Activity and Tree Preference at Glen Helen Nature Reserve



Dustin Holmes


Presentation: 1:20-1:40 p.m., Science Center 150



Ecosystem engineers are vital for natural areas, having a large impact on species richness and ecosystem health. An example is the North American beaver (Castor canadensis). Beavers can radically alter their environment through the construction of dams, which creates new aquatic habitats, leads to greater water availability, and increases nutrient availability for plants and animals. Around two years ago a beaver family began to build a dam in Glen Helen Nature Reserve (Yellow Springs, OH), and since then have completed construction of a dam and a lodge. This has caused significant flooding of the stream that the dam was built on and an opening of the canopy due to the beavers removing many large trees within the area. Our aim was to study the effects that this new beaver colony has had on trees in the area and how the beavers are affected by the local fauna and human activity.For this objective, we set up three remote trail cameras to capture beaver presence and activity. Cameras were active for a month, from Nov 15 to Dec 15, 2022. We also monitored and documented the location of trees that showed any signs of beaver activity so that we could identify what tree species were preferred by the beavers. We collected the cameras and reviewed what was captured, following up with analysis of the data collected. We documented 141 photos and videos of beavers during our study. They were primarily active at dawn, and seemed to avoid other mammals and humans. It was also determined that the beavers mainly preferred medium sized sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and hackberry trees (Celtis occidentalis) over other slower growing tree species. This data will aid in the management of Glen Helen Nature Reserve and provide insight on what attracts beavers to locations for their dam.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Mariela Gantchoff

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Institutional Learning Goals


Beaver Activity and Tree Preference at Glen Helen Nature Reserve