Beavers. Where to start?
Beavers are what many landowners and road crews curse as they deal with felled trees and unwanted dams.
With help from satellite imagery, researchers think they have identified the world’s largest beaver dam in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta. (An estimated 2,800 feet long in 2010, it is assumed to be the work of several generations of beavers over the last 40 years.)
Beavers are known for their ingenious, determined work ethic. They mate for life and are attentive parents. Watching them in the wild is a nice bonus for hikers and campers.
Hunted to extinction in Great Britain, this BBC article describes how some beavers are being reestablished in Scotland.
Now a December article in Canadian Geographic by Frances Backhouse,”Rethinking the Beaver“, considers how beavers affect wetlands and watersheds with an eye on how that could be a plus in dealing with heightened risk of drought.
The material presented isn’t especially new. But if cycles of drought and flood become more regular spectres it’s worth looking at ways to mitigate those impacts.
Ironically, having done so much to prevent flooding in the Netherlands through human engineering, officials there are concerned that a growing beaver population there could threaten their dykes.