Commercial plantations do not generally provide suitable habitat as beaver neither eat nor use coniferous trees. They can therefore exist in immediate proximity to beavers.
Most beaver activity occurs within 20 metres of the river bank, and virtually all within 100 metres. The effect beavers may have on forestry is thus restricted to trees on woodland edges near water courses and very unlikely to have a significant impact on the economic viability of timber operations.
95% of beaver cut trees have been found to be within 5m of water in Denmark [Reference Elmeros et al. 2003].
Trees used by beaver are broadleaved: birch, oak, rowan, willow and especially aspen being the favourites . Deciduous plantations and individual trees may thus require protection, depending on their proximity to water courses.
Flooding from dam construction can also cause localized death of trees. This generally occurs over relatively small areas, and often in terrain that is already naturally boggy where commercial forestry is less productive.
The Norwegian Forest Owners Association do not consider this damage significant enough to insure against.
Should it prove necessary, beaver can be prevented from damaging trees by fencing, or application of sand paint or chicken wire around individual trunks – or by removing the beavers from the affected areas.