The beaver (Castor canadensis) is a keystone species that affects habitat structure and dynamics through the damming and diverting of streams, and the felling of trees and other woody vegetation. The resulting ponds and flooding help create an environment favorable to willow and aspen, the beavers' preferred winter foods and used in building their lodges. The territoriality of beavers probably deters two colonies from locating within 50 meters of each other, and most streams in the park lack either suitable vegetation or a sufficiently low gradient to provide beavers with habitat, but information about the distribution and number of beaver colonies in the park over time adds to our understanding about the long-term effects of changes in vegetation and climate. Learn More…
Quick Facts about Beavers in Yellowstone
Did You Know?
Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.