FAQ: How did the Trial measure the environmental impacts of beavers?

The Scottish Beaver Trial was termed a 'Trial' because it was a time-limited project. The beavers were released for a five year period to help us determine whether or not the reintroduction of beavers in Scotland was feasible and beneficial to nature conservation. While project partners tracked the beavers in the field and collected data on their activities, Scottish Natural Heritage worked as the independent body tasked with coordinating the scientific monitoring of the Trial. Scottish Natural Heritage reported to the Scottish Government on whether the conditions of the licence were being met on the ground.

Data was also collected on any positive or negative impacts that the activities of beavers have had on the local land uses and economy, i.e. forestry, fishing, agriculture, recreation, access, historic features and tourism.

Over 150 beaver reintroductions have now been undertaken across Europe, most without the detailed monitoring being carried out in the Scottish Beaver Trial. Previous projects that have been thoroughly studied have enabled scientists to predict with confidence the likely pattern of events post beaver reintroduction. These studies helped us to anticipate what the beavers' impact was likely to be in Argyll, but the purpose of our Trial was to provide an opportunity to study their specific impact in a Scottish environment (Knapdale Forest). You can read more information about European research on beaver reintroductions on our publications page.

The summary outputs of the scientific monitoring are released on the Scottish Natural Heritage website as they become available from the various Independent Monitoring Partners. Visit Scottish Natural Heritage online now to find out more.




Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

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    Beavers are back in Scotland!

    On 24 November 2016, the Scottish Government made the landmark announcement that beavers are to remain in Scotland. This is the first time that a mammal has been formally reintroduced in UK history.

    The trial population of beavers remains in Knapdale, and the Scottish Beaver partners are now focussing their efforts on re-enforcing this population to ensure its long term future.

    Boosting the Knapdale beaver population

    For updates on the beaver re-enforcement project, please visit the website of the Scottish Wildlife Trust or the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland by clicking on the adjacent logos.

    The Scottish Beaver Trial website

    Now that the Trial has ended, this website will no longer be updated. However, if you would like to browse our historical records on the website, please click the button to continue.

    Scottish Beaver Trial RZSS Scottish Wildlife Trust