February 25, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Prevent Drought: Hire a Beaver

“Beavers can help ease drought,” say scientists from University of Alberta.  EurekAlert published a press release about a 54-year study that showed beaver kept open water wetlands available.  They seem to even mitigate the effects of global warming.  “Climate models predict the incidence of drought in parts of North America will increase in frequency and length over the next 100 years, and beaver will likely play an important role in maintaining open water and mitigating the impact, [Glynnis] Hood said.”  In fact, maybe it isn’t climate that is driving everything.  “Beaver are helping to keep water in areas that would otherwise be dry.”  Their presence has a dramatic effect on how much open water is available in an area.  See also Science Daily.

Beaver are pests to some, and a cash cow to others.  In the early 1800s, they were coveted as a source of felt for gentlemen’s hats.  That’s what opened the West to exploration and expansion by Americans, Europeans, other nations and individual pioneers, explorers, entrepreneurs and adventurers.  We need to look at beaver in a better light.  They’re lovable, and they’re good for us.  Time to watch the wonderful IMAX file “Beavers” again. 

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Categories: Amazing Facts, Mammals

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