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Characterisation of Beaver Habitat Parameters That Promote the Use of Culverts as Dam Construction Sites: Can We Limit the Damage to Forest Roads?

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Centre D’étude De La Forêt, Institut De Recherche sur Les Forêts (IRF), Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), 445 Boulevard De L’université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada
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Conseil De La Nation Anishnabe Du Lac Simon, Département des Ressources Naturelles 1026, Boul. Cicip, Lac Simon, QC J0Y 3M0, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2017, 8(12), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120494
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 24 November 2017 / Accepted: 5 December 2017 / Published: 9 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
The use of forest roads as foundations for dam construction by beavers is a recurrent problem in the management of forest road networks. In order to limit the damage to forest roads, our goal was to calculate the probability of beaver dam installation on culverts, according to surrounding habitat parameters, which could allow for improvement in the spatial design of new roads that minimise conflicts with beavers. Comparisons of culverts with (n = 77) and without (n = 51) dams in northwestern Quebec showed that catchment surface, cumulate length of all local streams within a 2-km radius, and road embankment height had a negative effect on the probability of dam construction on culverts, while flow level and culvert diameter ratio had a positive effect. Nevertheless, predicted probabilities of dam construction on culverts generally exceeded 50%, even on sites that were less favourable to beavers. We suggest that it would be more reasonable to take their probable subsequent presence into account at the earliest steps of road conception. Installing mitigation measures such as pre-dams during road construction would probably reduce the occurrence of conflicts with beavers and thus reduce the maintenance costs of forest roads. View Full-Text
Keywords: road; beavers; dam; habitat parameters; boreal forest road; beavers; dam; habitat parameters; boreal forest
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Tremblay, G.; Valeria, O.; Imbeau, L. Characterisation of Beaver Habitat Parameters That Promote the Use of Culverts as Dam Construction Sites: Can We Limit the Damage to Forest Roads? Forests 2017, 8, 494.

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