Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

James T. Anderson.


Beavers (Castor canadensis) can have dramatic effects on vegetative communities through impounding streams and wetlands. These alterations may influence rare plant species where beaver create ponds. We found that the youngest and oldest beaver ponds in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, USA had similar species richness. Rare plant species occurred most in oldest ponds, although no significant differences were detected. Species composition around ponds was found to be different between areas influenced by ponds versus those not affected, creating more obligate wetland communities when influenced by beaver. This information should be incorporated into management decisions when rare plant species conservation is a priority. Our validated geographic information systems model can be used in planning management activities. We believe limited and regulated trapping can aid in beaver reduction without negatively affecting rare plants, although a beaver population should be conserved in the areas of the oldest ponds to maintain rare plant species.