PBS: For Climate Mitigation and Fire Suppression, Why Not Leave it to Beavers?

November 20, 2021

PBS. spot above is the best video I’ve seen in a week, at least, and gives some depth to the discussion about Beaver’s ability to mitigate drought and fire in vulnerable areas.

The vid features Dr Emily Fairfax. who I interviewed a few years ago on the topic – her popular stop motion animation shows how beavers work their magic, below.

Below, short clip from my interview with Dr Fairfax.

4 Responses to “PBS: For Climate Mitigation and Fire Suppression, Why Not Leave it to Beavers?”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

    But not everywhere:

    “The Newest Threat to a Warming Alaskan Arctic: Beavers”
    The large rodents are creating lakes that accelerate the thawing of frozen soils and potentially increase greenhouse gas emissions, a study finds.


    • It’s always good to look at the source. The source in this instance is from a letter to IOP Science Environmental Research
      The abstract and the paper itself are hedged about with qualifiers such as “likely” and “could” and seems not to have examined the historical background of beaver influence.

      From the abstract – Surface water increases resulting from beaver dam building likely exacerbated permafrost degradation in the region, but dam failure also factored into the drainage of several thermokarst lakes in the northern Baldwin Peninsula study region, which could promote local permafrost aggradation in freshly exposed lake sediments. Our findings highlight that beaver-driven ecosystem engineering must be carefully considered when accounting for changes occurring in some permafrost regions, and in particular, regional surface water dynamics in low Arctic and Boreal landscapes.

      The question this paper raised in my mind was “is the production of methane by beaver ponds likely to have a greater influence on AGW than uncontrolled wildfires?”

  2. jimbills Says:

    The second that animals inconvenience humans, though, they are quickly eliminated. We try to bring back wolves, a few of them get to the cattle herd, there’s a large scale cull of the tiny population of wolves. With beavers, any change in the boundaries of waterways will affect infrastructure, recreation, private property, and so on. Humans simply won’t allow it beyond just minor impacts, or in areas where humans don’t frequent or use economically, which is almost nowhere in the continental U.S.

    Somewhat related, this is a very uncomfortable article today in the Guardian:

    Plus side: there’s less and less actual climate denial taking place in far right talk these days. Major downside: the far right is creating eco-fascist groups obsessed with immigration and race, and new memes are popping up in the right portraying people like Thunberg as demons. It’s essentially tribalism – refusing any limits on one’s own group while seeking penalties and limits on other groups perceived as inferior or evil. Like above with animal control, it’s basically the selfishness in human nature working against the common good. Co-existence, and the blessings that can come from it, doesn’t exist in these circles. It’s perceived instead as the enemy.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      “The wrapping of ecological disaster with fears of rampant immigration is a narrative that has flourished in far-right fringe movements in Europe and the US.”

      Human nature being what it is, this is inevitable.
      CCC will put cumulative stress on the working class and poor. As with a major recession, such stress leads to more domestic violence, more drug (including ethanol) abuse, more depression, and more suicide.

      A lot of people are only seeing it in terms of major hurricanes, floods and wildfires, without realizing how even an incremental worsening of food production can lead to mass malnutrition, starvation and rioting. Crop failures may seemingly grow gradually more frequent, but at some point they’ll start to overlap.

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