What do Beavers Have to do with Wildfire?

February 19, 2019

Brilliant example of the resiliency of a diversified system.

Reminds me of the excellent explanation of how wolves changed rivers in Yellowstone, below. Worth a review even if you have seen it before.

7 Responses to “What do Beavers Have to do with Wildfire?”

  1. Terry Donte Says:

    Large wildfires happen when man keep putting them out. The problem man has been putting them out for a long time and the result is a huge buildup of brush and small scrub trees on tens of millions of acres that was not there 200 years ago. Wolf’s and beavers have a very minor effect on the system when compared to humans.

  2. redskylite Says:

    I wouldn’t say beavers had a minimal affect on wildfire in the past, they’re known as being highly industrious Eco-engineers – but can annoy/nuisance human settlements nearby their territories. But they did create extensive wildfire resistant wetlands in such places as California, before being decimated by fur trappers/hunters and gold rush activities in the 18th century.

    Unfortunately we have lost more than a few treasures setting up our modern lifestyles. Can we bring some of them back, before it is far too late ? I hope so.


    • Terry Donte Says:

      Lets hope both come back . A wolf was seen in California last year and we do have beavers but not a lot. There never was a lot of wetlands in the California foothills only in the central valley and beavers had almost zero to do with that. Brush buildup is what is wrong in California and is a direct cause of our major fires.

  3. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Insufficient raking of the forest floor!

  4. redskylite Says:

    Well simplistically nature (including beavers) and pre-industrial revolution life were in some sort of balance, and at least CO2 emissions did not produce a hockey stick graph.

    I’m sure forest fires occurred in our great forests, but nothing like today. How much man-labored firefighting took place in the great remote forests of Siberia ?

    NASA Images Capture Worst Siberian Wildfires in 10,000 Years


    Many studies all point fingers at climate change plus . . .

    ‘It eats everything’ – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict


    so maybe the little industrious beaver had a place in the history of Earth, before all hell broke loose.

  5. dumboldguy Says:

    Terry oversimplifies when he focuses on “Wolf’s (sic) and beavers have a very minor effect on the system when compared to humans”. Redsky gets it.

    The point of this piece is DIVERSITY, and how the environment and critters interact. The whole planet was in a state of balance (more or less) until man came along. Yes, there were ice ages and massive volcanic eruptions and extinctions, but life on the planet always reached some sort of equilibrium afterwards. Man is driving things to a point that may not be survivable for many living things on Earth.

    The wolves and beavers are excellent examples of organisms that fill important places in their ecosystem—-their removal or reintroduction can cause major disruptions or changes (and I love the term “trophic cascades”). We focus on them because they’re big and visible—-we need to worry more about the little critters—-from bugs on down—they’re the ones we need most. (Along with more diligent raking of the forest floor, of course).

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