Course theme

Type of course


Beavers in anthropogenic landscapes: a Blessing or a Burden?

  • 1 December, 2022
  • Wageningen University, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
  • prof.dr. W.M. Mooij
  • dr. S. Teurlincx

In a crowded world encounters between humans and wildlife are getting more regular. A lot of attention is paid to the negative interactions, human-wildlife conflicts, but to a lesser extent to the solution, sustainable human-wildlife coexistence. The Netherlands provides an excellent environment to study human-wildlife coexistence in anthropogenic landscapes, as the densely populated country is dealing with an expanding beaver population. Whereas beavers supposedly bring many blessings through their ecosystem engineering skills, this is increasingly accompanied by certain burdens, when their engineering activities interfere with human infrastructure. However, current beaver management lacks both applicable knowledge on the effects of beavers in anthropogenic landscapes like the Netherlands, and public support by involved stakeholders, which is crucial to reach sustainable human-beaver coexistence. This requires a novel, inter- and transdisciplinary approach in which natural and social scientists, and stakeholders join forces. Therefore, this study (1) gives a general overview of the current situation of beavers in the Netherlands, and envisions desirable futures based on that, together with stakeholders. Next, it delves into the specific effects of beavers on both (2) nature and (3) society in Dutch landscapes, specifically looking at biodiversity, water quality, and water quantity. Lastly, based on the acquired knowledge and the envisioned futures, this study (4) develops potential pathways on how those futures can be achieved in collaboration with stakeholders. Each of these research activities combines an ecological and societal perspective. Altogether, this study sets the basis for organising management plans based on knowledge that is applicable in the Netherlands and in which the public role is included. Ultimately, the outcomes of this study contribute to enabling human-beaver coexistence in anthropogenic landscapes.


Britt van Zelst

shape Banner
We provide a disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programme aimed at advanced understanding of environmental problems and advanced training of PhD candidates in this field.
More information
shape Banner
Here you will find a selection of international events related to the socio-economic and natural sciences of the environment.
View our events