Date of this Version
Even though beavers (Castor canadensis carolinensis) occur over most of the southeastern United States, the impacts of increasing beaver populations on riparian forests within the southern Appalachian mountains are. not been well documented. Long-tenor browsing and inundation by beaver may alter the composition and structure of riparian forests. A survey of 62 streams (74 mi) within the Chauga River drainage in the mountains of South Carolina was conducted during 1991-1992 to determine the level of beaver activity within the drainage and the amount of timber damaged by beaver activities. Thirty-six streams had evidence of significant beaver activity with a total of 5.3 mi (7.2%) affected by beaver. Twenty-six streams (17.3 mi), primarily those with steep gradients and no flood plains, had no evidence of beaver activity. On beaver impacted areas, values of beaver damaged timber averaged $781.27/ac for sawtimber and $36.01/ac for pulpwood While high in terms of volume/acre within impacted riparian areas, timber damage was relatively minor for the entire drainage because of the small area (49.2 ac) affected.