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?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.