Simulating the proposed reintroduction of the European beaver (Castor fiber) to Scotland
South A., Rushton S., MacDonald D.
We developed a spatially explicit model for investigating the proposed reintroduction of the European beaver to Scotland. The model simulates the births and deaths of individuals and their dispersal between habitat patches, using a habitat template created from an existing land cover map which was derived from aerial photography. Uncertainty in model parameter estimates was accounted for by using high, medium and low values for each, derived from the literature. We used the model to predict the result of different release protocols and compared the predictions to those generated by application of a population viability analysis package, Vortex. Predictions of the two approaches were similar. We showed that predictions were particularly sensitive to the levels of the demographic parameters and that, providing these were set to at least medium levels, reintroduction sizes of 20 animals led to high persistence and population increase. We describe the potential use of simulation modelling at all stages in the reintroduction process. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.