Finally getting the recognition they deserve Beavers have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the environment, says a study published in the Oct. issue of Western North American Naturalist. Long maligned for their damming ways, those dams have been found to provide habitat for song birds.
“We found that increasing density of beaver dams was associated with a diverse and abundant bird community and the wetland and streamside habitat these species depend on,” said Hilary Cooke, the study’s lead author who is now finishing her dissertation at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “This habitat is critical to birds in semi-arid regions yet has been severely degraded or lost through much of the West. Our results suggest that management of beavers may be an important tool for restoring habitat and reversing bird declines.”
Beavers may also help as global warming depletes water tables;
“Beaver are an essential ecosystem engineer,” said co-author Steve Zack of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Beavers help repair degraded stream habitats and their dams and associated ponds recharge local water tables and create wetlands. With our changing climate likely to mean increasing droughts in the West, managing ways to allow watersheds to act more like sponges will be a challenge.
Beaver are a powerful tool to be considered for that, and the associated benefits to other wildlife add to their value.
Renew your love for the Beaver!
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