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Peer-Review Record

Characteristics of Beaver Ponds and Landforms Induced by Beaver Activity, S Part of the Tuchola Pinewoods, Poland

Water 2021, 13(24), 3641; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243641
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Water 2021, 13(24), 3641; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243641
Received: 11 November 2021 / Revised: 13 December 2021 / Accepted: 15 December 2021 / Published: 18 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Ecohydrology)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

General comments:

This is a very interesting theme that is starting to get traction. The article is overall poorly organized. Sections will need to be completely re-organized and written accordingly, particularly the “Results”. The article is mostly descriptive and has an excess of descriptive figures. Very little “space” is devoted to actual results.

Abstract – The abstract is clear, I think it would be beneficial to have some general ecological consequences of the beaver impact in river systems, and how the system can functionally function.

Introduction – I think this introduction does not set the scene for this study properly, it does not reason on why the present study is important, and it critically lacks detail. Is vague and it just mentions that studies were made previously, but it says nothing about them. From my perspective the introduction needs to be completely rewritten.

Methods – Additionally clarity is needed.

Results – This section is completely filled with interpretative reasonings. Most of the text should be moved elsewhere in the article. Most figures are descriptive and very little “space” is dedicated to actual results.

Discussion – There is a lack of support for strong statements. The authors did not provide any interpretation on the impact of beavers in the system, and how should this population be managed. How does sediment capture by beaver ponds affect downstream system functioning?

 

Specific comments:

 

Lines 37-39 – Maybe give a short run-down of the main findings.

Lines 46-53 – And what were the main findings? Can the author please complement the text? I think this would greatly benefit both the paper and the reader. It is important, for sure, to highlight what studies were made, but it is even more when main findings are mentioned and related between one another.

Lines 54-58 – This paragraph in very short, and it does not add much value. It is too vague, similarly to the previous paragraph.

Lines 50-62 - his paragraph in very short, and it does not add much value. It is too vague, similarly to the previous two paragraphs.

 

Line 71 – Why is this river singled out? Is this the study river?

Lines 70-84 – This information, all of it, need either to be supported by literature, or if measured by the author, the methods need to be clearly described.

Lines 95-104 – Clarity is needed in this methods description. How many measurements were taken for each variable at each pond? What was the resolution of the measurements?

Lines 107-108 – “alluvial fans, levees, channel bars and channel microterraces” – Please provide literature to support this classification and present the main characteristics of these landforms.

Line 128-129 – This sentence is not necessary

Line 136 – I imagine that pond area is not solely dependent on dam height. As the author clearly says in lines 142-143. These are contradictory, or better, complementary. But clarification in the text is needed.

Lines 156-158 – Did not find what? I was unable to fully interpret this sentence.

Line 168 – Please support this statement.

Figure 2 – Legend system is not elegant, as number maybe confused with pond numbers.

Line 189 – Bellongs in the “Methods” section.

Line 194 – Figure 7 is referred to before than Figures 4, 5 and 6. Please number the figures properly.

Lines 192-205 – This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Figure 3 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

Lines 220-227 – Excluding the first and last sentence, all the other sentences belong in the “Methods” section. These are not results.

Line 228 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 230-231 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Figure 4 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

Lines 240-247 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Figure 5 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

Line 256 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 258-262 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Figure 6 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

Figure 7 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

 

Lines 282-283 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 294-305 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 316-319 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 302-321 – “This is associated with the time of 320 existence of these ponds.” This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 324-326 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 333-334 – This is a methods description and should be moved to the “Methods” section.

Lines 342-343 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Line 345 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 348-349 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 359-361 – This does not belong in this section of the article.

Lines 364-370 - This does not belong in this section of the article. Maybe it should be moved and adapted to the “Discussion” section.

Line 375 – This belongs in the “Discussion” section.

Lines 383 – 387 - This does not belong in this section of the article.

Line 387 – “Due to erosion,” – This is interpretative.

Line 396 - This is interpretative.

Lines 400-402 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Lines 419 – 420 – These are very strong words, please support them comprehensively.

Line 451 – This is a result that was not presented previously. There can be no new results presented in the “Discussion” section.

 

Author Response

Dear Reviewer.

Thank you very much for your review. I corrected the remarks indicated in the text, as well as the figures. I have also responded to the reviewer's comments. The answers are below.

This is a very interesting theme that is starting to get traction. The article is overall poorly organized. Sections will need to be completely re-organized and written accordingly, particularly the “Results”. The article is mostly descriptive and has an excess of descriptive figures. Very little “space” is devoted to actual results.

Individual chapters in the work were corrected and expanded.

Abstract – The abstract is clear, I think it would be beneficial to have some general ecological consequences of the beaver impact in river systems, and how the system can functionally function.

A sentence about morphological changes in the abstract was added.

Introduction – I think this introduction does not set the scene for this study properly, it does not reason on why the present study is important, and it critically lacks detail. Is vague and it just mentions that studies were made previously, but it says nothing about them. From my perspective the introduction needs to be completely rewritten.

The introduction has been corrected in accordance with the comments of the reviewer.

Methods – Additionally clarity is needed.

This section has been expanded with a detailed description of the work performed.

Results – This section is completely filled with interpretative reasonings. Most of the text should be moved elsewhere in the article. Most figures are descriptive and very little “space” is dedicated to actual results.

This point has been corrected. The sentences related to the interpretation have been removed or replaced with other sentences that do not indicate an interpretation. The interpretative sentences are presented in another point because they relate to the genesis of these forms.

Discussion – There is a lack of support for strong statements. The authors did not provide any interpretation on the impact of beavers in the system, and how should this population be managed. How does sediment capture by beaver ponds affect downstream system functioning?

I think the discussion point is correct because I refer to articles that contain the results of work similar to mine. Changes to the fluvial system in other valleys are shown. in other valleys and mine have been presented.

It is a forest ecosystem, and beavers are legally protected in Poland, so they live here without any problems. There is even no threat from their natural enemies. There is also no monitoring of the population directly in the field by security services. In many countries, the beaver population is not correctly established. Statistics data on the population of beavers are estimates.

No negative effects, e.g. erosion, were found downstream. The sediments, if they get past the last beaver pond, are captured by the mill pond.

 

Answers to specific comments:

Lines 37-39 – Maybe give a short run-down of the main findings.

Population data has been added in this sentence.

Lines 46-53 – And what were the main findings? Can the author please complement the text? I think this would greatly benefit both the paper and the reader. It is important, for sure, to highlight what studies were made, but it is even more when main findings are mentioned and related between one another.

A detailed description has been added.

Lines 54-58 – This paragraph in very short, and it does not add much value. It is too vague, similarly to the previous paragraph.

A detailed description has been added.

Lines 50-62 - his paragraph in very short, and it does not add much value. It is too vague, similarly to the previous two paragraphs.

A detailed description has been added.

Line 71 – Why is this river singled out? Is this the study river?

It is a representative river whose valley has been inhabited and transformed by beavers. During field observations in other regions of Poland, the author did not find the presence of so many geomorphological forms related to the activity of beavers.

Lines 70-84 – This information, all of it, need either to be supported by literature, or if measured by the author, the methods need to be clearly described.

This description is made on the basis of own observations and field work as well as the analysis of available topographic maps. Topographic and geological map citations have been added.

Lines 95-104 – Clarity is needed in this methods description. How many measurements were taken for each variable at each pond? What was the resolution of the measurements?

The process of individual field works was described in detail.

Lines 107-108 – “alluvial fans, levees, channel bars and channel microterraces” – Please provide literature to support this classification and present the main characteristics of these landforms.

These are forms that were named in the field by the author. Of course, alluvial fans, levees and channel bars are described in the literature, but their genesis is related to other natural factors. They can be combined with floods, as is the case in the valleys of large rivers, but in beaver ponds they are small forms. Their morphometric features are presented in the table.

Line 128-129 – This sentence is not necessary

Deleted this sentence.

Line 136 – I imagine that pond area is not solely dependent on dam height. As the author clearly says in lines 142-143. These are contradictory, or better, complementary. But clarification in the text is needed.

The sentence from line 136 has been deleted. It was in the wrong place. Sentence from line 142 is modified and the word "height" has been added.

Lines 156-158 – Did not find what? I was unable to fully interpret this sentence.

In this sentence, I state that I have not found any stones in the dams analyzed, which are used by beavers to build dams. This is what the authors say in other studies (Gurnel, 1998).

Line 168 – Please support this statement.

I refer this statement to the stair-steps arrangement of beaver ponds found on inhabited watercourses. The term "cascading system of ponds" is sometimes used in scientific articles.  

Figure 2 – Legend system is not elegant, as number maybe confused with pond numbers.

Legendy na rycinach zostały poprawione. Legends on figures have been corrected.

Line 189 – Bellongs in the “Methods” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Line 194 – Figure 7 is referred to before than Figures 4, 5 and 6. Please number the figures properly.

The citation of the figures and their arrangement in the text have been improved.

Lines 192-205 – This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Figure 3 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

It is not incorrectly inserted as it shows a representative beaver pond with a geomorphological form.

Lines 220-227 – Excluding the first and last sentence, all the other sentences belong in the “Methods” section. These are not results.

The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Line 228 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 230-231 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Figure 4 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

It is not incorrectly inserted as it shows a representative beaver pond with a geomorphological form.

Lines 240-247 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Figure 5 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

It is not incorrectly inserted as it shows a representative beaver pond with a geomorphological form.

Line 256 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

This sentence was corrected.

Lines 258-262 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Figure 6 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

It is not incorrectly inserted as it shows a representative beaver pond with a geomorphological form.

Figure 7 – Is a “Methods” figure not a “Results” figure. It is thus miss-placed and miss-referenced.

Yes, her position has changed. 

Lines 282-283 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 294-305 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

 The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Lines 316-319 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 302-321 – “This is associated with the time of 320 existence of these ponds.” This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 324-326 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 333-334 – This is a methods description and should be moved to the “Methods” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 342-343 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Line 345 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Lines 348-349 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

The content of the paragraph has been corrected.

Lines 359-361 – This does not belong in this section of the article.

This is an introductory sentence to this part of the results.

Lines 364-370 - This does not belong in this section of the article. Maybe it should be moved and adapted to the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Line 375 – This belongs in the “Discussion” section.

This is the descript on for Fig. 11A.

Lines 383 – 387 - This does not belong in this section of the article.

Deleted this sentence.

Line 387 – “Due to erosion,” – This is interpretative.

This is a statement. I didn't change this sentence. 

Line 396 - This is interpretative.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 400-402 - This is interpretative and so, it does not belong in the “Results” section. I should be moved and adapted to fit the “Discussion” section.

Deleted this sentence.

Lines 419 – 420 – These are very strong words, please support them comprehensively.

During field studies, the occurrence of amphibians (frogs) and birds (swans) was found in pond no. 2, the longest-functioning pond. There are scientific studies that discuss this subject thoroughly from the area of Poland (Czech, 2000)

Line 451 – This is a result that was not presented previously. There can be no new results presented in the “Discussion” section.

Thank you for pointing out this deficiency. The description of the volume in the subsection about sediment types has been inserted. With such a large description, it escaped my attention. I added a paragraph about the sediment volume in the results.

 

Best wishes

Mirek Rurek

Reviewer 2 Report

The author investigated the impact of beavers on landscape transformation in Tuchola Forest (Poland). Although the research subject is not entirely new, the manuscript is in general technically well written, and I find that this paper could be of importance to researchers in the field. I have no major concerns regarding technicalities in this manuscript, except Figure 5. description of legend parts 6. and 7 is missing.

Author Response

Dear Reviewer

Thank you very much for your review. I corrected the indicated remarks regarding Figure 5.

Beste wishes

Mirek Rurek

Reviewer 3 Report

Review

Manuscript # water-1481747

The manuscript is well written and brings interesting information on the characteristics of the ponds built by the beavers in the park Tuchoa Pinewoods, Poland. I am not an expert in this field of study however, I could understand the importance of the analysis carried out and detailed characterization of the ponds in terms of morphometrics and material used in the construction of the ponds. I consider the manuscript has merits to be published the “Water” and a few recommendations are listed below that must be included in the manuscript before its final acceptance.

I would suggest changing the sentence “Currently, there are only two species described of beavers”. One could argue if there would exist a possible new species elsewhere not described yet.

Line 45 “Castor canadensis and Castor fiber have a similar impact on landscape despite the former being slightly bigger”. I would suggest a reference at the end of the sentence.

I also would suggest adding more information on the biology of the Castors. General information. For how long they live, size, number of specimens living together in the ponds, general food and so on.

In the last paragraph of the introduction, I think the author should include brief information on the studied place and a justification for the carried-out work. A quantitative estimate of the beaver population in the studied place.

In the beginning of the material and methods the name of the studied species should be mentioned and a reference supporting the identification should be included. If possible, a photo of the Castor canadensis should also be included.

Legends of all figs 1-14 are incomplete. The legend must be self-explanatory. Please include the name of the studied species, the kind of study carried out, extension of the studied area, country, and any other key information. Also, please include a position north in each map

Legend of all Tables are incomplete. The same recommendation mentioned for all figs. Please include the name of the studied species, the location where the study took place and any other important related information to make the legend self-explanatory.

Author Response

Dear Reviewer

Thank you very much for your review. I corrected the remarks indicated in the text, as well as the figures. I have also responded to the reviewer's comments. The answers are below.

I would suggest changing the sentence “Currently, there are only two species described of beavers”. One could argue if there would exist a possible new species elsewhere not described yet.

This sentence was corrected.

Line 45 “Castor canadensis and Castor fiber have a similar impact on landscape despite the former being slightly bigger”. I would suggest a reference at the end of the sentence.

I added citation – Czech, 2000

I also would suggest adding more information on the biology of the Castors. General information. For how long they live, size, number of specimens living together in the ponds, general food and so on.

I have added a few sentences on the biology of beavers.

In the last paragraph of the introduction, I think the author should include brief information on the studied place and a justification for the carried-out work. A quantitative estimate of the beaver population in the studied place.

A sentence was added according to the reviewer's recommendation, however, estimating the number is not easy, because monitoring is not carried out there.

In the beginning of the material and methods the name of the studied species should be mentioned and a reference supporting the identification should be included. If possible, a photo of the Castor canadensis should also be included.

As the reviewer pointed out, I added a short introduction about the analyzed species, but I did not include the photo because I do not have it in my collection. Besides, I have not seen photos of beavers in the works of geomorphologists.

Legends of all figs 1-14 are incomplete. The legend must be self-explanatory. Please include the name of the studied species, the kind of study carried out, extension of the studied area, country, and any other key information. Also, please include a position north in each map

Figure and figure titles have been modified. I think more appropriate now.

Legend of all Tables are incomplete. The same recommendation mentioned for all figs. Please include the name of the studied species, the location where the study took place and any other important related information to make the legend self-explanatory.

Tables titles have been modified. I think they will be appropriate now.

Best wishes

Mirek Rurek

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

I commend the author in his effort to improve the article. This is a much improved article overall. The description of types of forms is very valuable and merit full, but it remains interpretative. I understand that this section is a bit more than simple results description, and I understand its importance, but interpretation remarks must be supported by literature.

 

I have mostly small concerns/comments:

 

The methods still lack some clarity for some measurements. Please describe how many measurements were made and how was the measurements places selected.

Line 226 – Should be 3.2 instead of 3.1.

Line 280 – It ends with empty brackets.

Line 351 – Should be 3.3

Line 387 – “can” instead of “cane”.

Table 4 – The table seems not properly formatted, maybe it was during the upload stage, but it should be resolved.

Author Response

Dear Reviewer,

Thank you very much for your review. I corrected the remarks indicated in the text. I have also responded to the reviewer's comments. The answers are below.

I commend the author in his effort to improve the article. This is a much improved article overall. The description of types of forms is very valuable and merit full, but it remains interpretative. I understand that this section is a bit more than simple results description, and I understand its importance, but interpretation remarks must be supported by literature.

Previous studies of sedimentation in beaver ponds indicate the share of mineral sediments in beaver ponds, but I have not seen such studies specifically referring to forms formed in beaver ponds, with specific names of these forms. Due to their size and blurring of the landscape, the valleys are either overlooked or invisible by vegetation. I think that they can be ignored in the study of small rivers, and in larger rivers they are not formed or are eroded and there is no trace of them.I added a reference to the literature in the Discussion section where I found references to sediments and their erosion.

The methods still lack some clarity for some measurements. Please describe how many measurements were made and how was the measurements places selected.

The method of measuring the width and length of beaver ponds and the length measurements of beaver dams have been added in the Methods section. 

Line 226 – Should be 3.2 instead of 3.1. Corrected

Line 280 – It ends with empty brackets. Deleted

Line 351 – Should be 3.3 Corrected

Line 387 – “can” instead of “cane”. Changed

Table 4 – The table seems not properly formatted, maybe it was during the upload stage, but it should be resolved.

Yes, this is a loading error, because I choose the appropriate style for table in type of text.

 

Best regards

Mirek Rurek

This manuscript is a resubmission of an earlier submission. The following is a list of the peer review reports and author responses from that submission.


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