Climate Scientist: “Anyone who wants to predict the future of the permafrost should be sure to keep the beaver in mind.”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Climate scientists are worried a beaver boom may be helping to melt the Arctic ice.

Beavers gnawing away at the Arctic permafrost

by  Alfred Wegener Institute
JUNE 30, 2020

Alaska’s beavers are profiting from climate change, and spreading rapidly. In just a few years’ time, they have not only expanded into many tundra regions where they’d never been seen before; they’re also building more and more dams in their new homes, creating a host of new water bodies. This could accelerate the thawing of the permafrost soils, and therefore intensify climate change, as an International American-German research team reports in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

This has already affected the water balance. Apparently, the rodents intentionally do their work in those parts of the landscape that they can most easily flood. To do so, sometimes they dam up small streams, and sometimes the outlets of existing lakes, which expand as a result. “But they especially prefer drained lake basins,” Benjamin Jones, lead author of the study, and Nitze report. In many cases, the bottoms of these former lakes are prime locations for beaver activity. “The animals have intuitively found that damming the outlet drainage channels at the sites of former lakes is an efficient way to create habitat. So a new lake is formed which degrades ice-rich permafrost in the basin, adding to the effect of increasing the depth of the engineered waterbody,” added Jones. These actions have their consequences: in the course of the 17-year timeframe studied, the overall water area in the Kotzebue region grew by 8.3 percent. And roughly two-thirds of that growth was due to the beavers.

Read more: https://phys.org/news/2020-06-beavers-gnawing-arctic-permafrost.html

The abstract of the study;

Increase in beaver dams controls surface water and thermokarst dynamics in an Arctic tundra region, Baldwin Peninsula, northwestern Alaska

Benjamin M Jones1,6, Ken D Tape2, Jason A Clark2, Ingmar Nitze3, Guido Grosse3,4and Jeff Disbrow5

Published 30 June 2020 • © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd

Beavers are starting to colonize low arctic tundra regions in Alaska and Canada, which has implications for surface water changes and ice-rich permafrost degradation. In this study, we assessed the spatial and temporal dynamics of beaver dam building in relation to surface water dynamics and thermokarst landforms using sub-meter resolution satellite imagery acquired between 2002 and 2019 for two tundra areas in northwestern Alaska. In a 100 km2 study area near Kotzebue, the number of dams increased markedly from 2 to 98 between 2002 and 2019. In a 430 km2 study area encompassing the entire northern Baldwin Peninsula, the number of dams increased from 94 to 409 between 2010 and 2019, indicating a regional trend. Correlating data on beaver dam numbers with surface water area mapped for 12 individual years between 2002 and 2019 for the Kotzebue study area showed a significant positive correlation (R2 = 0.61; p < .003). Beaver-influenced waterbodies accounted for two-thirds of the 8.3% increase in total surface water area in the Kotzebue study area during the 17 year period. Beavers specifically targeted thermokarst landforms in their dam building activities. Flooding of drained thermokarst lake basins accounted for 68% of beaver-influenced surface water increases, damming of lake outlets accounted for 26%, and damming of beaded streams accounted for 6%. 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.

Read more: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab80f1

Let us hope scientists find a way to mitigate the damage done by the exploding beaver population before it is too late.

130 thoughts on “Climate Scientist: “Anyone who wants to predict the future of the permafrost should be sure to keep the beaver in mind.”

    • I have initial indications that the increase in beaver population is due to the increase in atmospheric CO2 but more money is needed to get a better understanding of this important field of research.

    • The beavers are mostly just moving back into the locations they were trapped out of, and there are no longer as many trap lines active (dramatically reduced market for the pelts). We have had an explosion of beavers her in PEC and across most of Ontario, so why would a spurt in Alaska be a such a surprise?

      • The beavers are mostly just moving back into the locations they were trapped out of,

        More likely, the beavers ate themselves out of house n’ home …… and moved on to a greener woodlot. Their dam deteriorated and the lake was no more …… and new growth sprung up in the old lake bed.

        Benjamin Jones, lead author of the study, and Nitze report. In many cases, the bottoms of these former lakes are prime locations for beaver activity. “The animals have intuitively found that damming the outlet drainage channels at the sites of former lakes is an efficient way to create habitat.

        “DUH”, if the location selected by the beavers is a site of a former lake, …… then guess what?

        That former lake was also surely created by beavers.

    • PETA’s propaganda has destroyed the market for natural skins and furs and caused an explosion in the populations of these animal. See beaver, nutria, fox…

  1. Need to revive the use of beaver felt to make the hats for the British Royal Guards. The greens, PETA and others have forced the demise of the fur trade. Thus no incentive for the indigenous, and other trappers to make the effort to trap, skin and prepare beaver pelts.
    So decline of permafrost may become an unintended consequence of attacking the native fur trade.

      • No David, the Busby and the Bearskin are two different types of headgear. The Busby is the shorter type as worn by the King’s Troop RHA and , God forbid, now made of nylon fur. The Guards battalions still wear the taller Bearskins. There are no beavers in the Guards.

        • No beavers in the Guards ….?
          Have you checked out the RHA and Guards recently ….?

          • RHA and Household cavalry , ie horse guards , have different headgear and entry criteria, to the foot guards. There are no beavers, of any kind , in the foot guards.

  2. Wildlife in peril. oh no! Wildlife thrives, oh no! The doomsters are relentless.

  3. Here’s the solution: I went to Oregon State University, where the mascot was Benny the Beaver, and the school motto was “Eat a Beaver and Save a Tree”. OK, it wasn’t the official motto, but it was more popular.

    • At MIT, the saying was, “The beaver is the engineer of the animal world, and the Techman is the animal of the engineering world.” The school mascot was, of course, a beaver.

  4. So, if I understand the article correctly, beavers are making lakes out of what were previously lakes and so the world is going to end.

    • Makes you wonder if they are to stupid to think, what cause the lake to be here before and why did it drain out. My guess was at one time there were beaver there and something change to drive them out like to cold or trappers. Again a paper written to support the climate change narratives, which is half baked.

      • Beat me to it. + 10
        Just where did these large lakes, lakes large enough to leave a massive flat “plain,” go? I beleive it would take centuries for silt to build up into a massive flat plain. Worse, it had to be warm enough back then to have a lake! And for the lake to drain between then and now. Where is the history of this warm period?

        Hidden to support the agenda?

        • Once abandoned by the beavers the lake will drain out in a few years. The beaver dam requires constant maintenance.

      • Really, you should not jump to conclusions, imagine all the money to be spent finding out you are right.

    • The permafrost line has moved from about the US-Canada border to near the Arctic Circle over the last 80 centuries due to general warming since the last glaciation. Just enough for a human being to notice a small change over a lifetime and blame it on something that has also occurred such as beaver population increase. In reality, the result has been millions of acres of boreal forest sprouting up consuming CO2. What’s a greenie got to complain about? The only detrimental effect seems to upon southern style structures that foolish people build on top of permafrost.

      • “What’s a greenie got to complain about?”

        Oh, he’ll think of something–a microaggression, or something he thinks someone else should be incensed about; something “unequal” that really merely reflects envy on his part; a molehill he represents as a mountain; some tiny imperfection that he believes is cause for destroying the entire system; something “unfair” caused by lack of effort or previous government intervention, or, if all else fails, a clever lie that he promotes as truth.

        Greens never lack for something to divide us. They should read up on what Stalin ultimately did to his “useful idiots.”

    • stevem: agreed (Mark and Uzu, too). I noted they said where beavers had “never been seen before.” Seen by whom, the millions of people living in the great cities above the arctic circle? I wonder how hard they looked into whether Inuit or explorers in 1800’s saw beavers there 100 years ago, did they dig into the lake bed and find no beaver bones/fossils? My guess is they didn’t look because it would ruin the “never been seen there before” meme.
      P.S. That “great cities above the arctic circle” line? IMO, like Atlantis, ruins of great civilizations are beneath the tundra, they thrived and grew until they elected democrats.

      • ‘Where beavers had “never been seen before.” [Never] seen by whom, the millions of people living in the great cities above the arctic circle?’

        Never seen by Leftist academics sitting in their ivory towers purged of all heterodoxy, and who consider statistics just a tool for proving their conclusions when the data won’t cooperate.

  5. And they’ve yet to be incorporated into climate models!

    It’s worse than we thought!

  6. It’s great to see that Beaver numbers are booming just like the Polar Bears, all the plants and the Penguins too who are benefitting from the Bounty of CO2 and the Climate improvements .

  7. I wonder if beavers and their predators go through boom-bust cycles like other critters. In a few years will the greenies be wringing their hands worrying about the imminent extinction of the beaver?

  8. So prior to (1779) the North West Trading Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company (the 2 main forces wiping 95% of North America’s beavers) – what was it like without all that permafrost

    (I may have not used Algebra in the last 20yrs but I do remember my Grade 6 history)

    • At a guess, without permafrost lots of beavers

      And lots of all the rest of wildlife

  9. Beavers create water features and wetlands attracting diverse wild life
    Another win for slight warming

  10. Some questions.
    1. What colour was the skin of the worst offending beavers?
    2. What past processes caused former lakes to become former? Was it because previous beaver colonies had gone elsewhere for a while?
    3. Was the study area cherry picked after looking at earlier photogrammetry?
    4. Did the authors measure methane release?
    5. Did the authors measure atmospheric residence times for methane in this climate?
    There are more, but this is getting boring. Are the beavers boring? Geoff S

    • Mr. Sherrington asks, are the beavers boring? No. Beavers don’t bore; they build dams. However, the beavers’ rodent cousins, the nutria and muskrat, bore into river banks and levees and cause much damage. To throw more fat on the fire, remember Madame de Pompadour’s famous quote: “Canada is useful only to provide me with furs.” https://www.azquotes.com/quote/1175832

  11. And why all this focus and worry about permafrost?
    Remnants of frozen earth when most people died.

    Thaw it out, get back to forests and meadows and wildlife.

    If the Russian permafrost thaws that will fatally damage the Russian oil industry
    Isn’t that a win for greens and for the western energy industry?

  12. A world without beavers is a world of unchecked erosion, deep gorges, arid land. If you have a running creek on your property and want to create a pond, place a poles on both side of the creek mount on one of the poles a looping mp2 player with the sound of running water and loud speaker. If beavers cross your property they might stop and … the loud sound triggers their instinct despite the visibly small amount of water, they should proceed to build a dam.

  13. I’m not sure I understand the logic of why a shallow lake or pond – which is what beavers make – AND which will almost certainly freeze solid, has any effect at all on the permafrost.
    Once the ice is solid, the cold just keeps on going down. Snow can insulate but it is swept off the flat surface of a pond much more effectively than off other terrain where permafrost exists anyway.

  14. “But they especially prefer drained lake basins”

    It appears to me that the beavers are only recolonizing where they lived before.

    Beavers are amazing ingenious animals. So long as they can build water containment ponds deeper than the water freezes every winter, they’ll thrive.

    “In just a few years’ time, they have not only expanded into many tundra regions where they’d never been seen before”

    Assumptions and confirmation bias ruining science.

    • How do they know there have never been beavers there before. As little as two million years ago, the arctic was forested and occupied by all sorts of critters. link It was much warmer than it is today.

      • To speak of two million years – or even 15,000 – to the left, with their 5-minute attention spans is futile. Just slap them upside the head, it might activate some dormant neurons. If not, it’ll still be fun.

    • ATheo: Agreed, “never seen before” sounded like the assessment of a person who’s bias is being stroked and who never considers that beavers were there before human eyes saw it.

      • I agree with that thinking, paul courtney.

        Combined with Tiger Bee Fly’s point that progressives impossibly believe they are the first and that the world has been static ‘forever’ just waiting for them, gives them an infinitude of self congratulation bias and smug condescension moments.

  15. “Apparently, the rodents intentionally do their work in those parts of the landscape that they can most easily flood.” Wow. A ground-breaking discovery. How much did this amazing revelation cost?

  16. So after reading here on a daily basis for many years and being a part of the silent majority, I must now speak. I’m a resident of Beavercreek Oregon, there are many. In fact their are many Beaver Creeks and Beavercreeks allover the United Sates and Canada. In the early to mid Nineteenth century an eradication of Beavers was inflicted on our continent. At this time they are still recovering but will never achieve those historic numbers. They don’t have a lot of effective wild predators except Homo sapiens and vehicles piloted by Homo sapiens. Obviously the environmental impact of millions of Beavers in North America is something no one has considered. In my humble opinion as a layman the climate affect of millions of beavers is irrelevant.

      • Charles, I struggled to get myself, an assistant, and two gauchos, with horses through the terrain flooded by these busy beavers in southern Argentina. Wasn’t funny. The mosquitos and horse flys were bad enough, but the swamps behind their damn dams were mind bogging (literally).

        • I saw the destruction myself in 1993.

          Even hiked across an extremely large beaver dam.

    • Carpenter Joe – 8:59 pm
      I’m a resident of Beavercreek Oregon, there are many. In fact their are many Beaver Creeks and Beavercreeks allover the United Sates and Canada.

      A year or so ago there were some DNR types snooping in my back yard. “Who are you and what’s going on?” I asked. Beaver extermination was the answer. Yes I live on Beaver Creek.

      Since then I haven’t heard anything about it.

      • The train I on which I commuted ran for miles along swamps, creeks and lowland where beaver thrived.

        Only, it was puzzling that the beaver ponds went through upkeep and deline cycles.
        Then, it became public knowledge that the railroad was filing beaver nuisance complaints with the VGDIF and getting permissions to poison the beaver.

        What the railroad was really upset about was their access road along the tracks. An access road that was swamped in places by beaver ponds. The railroad kept insisting that killing one beaver was insufficient since new beaver moved in almost immediately. meaning the railroad poisoned all the beavers in an area.

        Public knowledge got the people who owned the land, not just a very narrow “right-of-way” given to the railroad. Landowners got involved and VGDIF subsequently stopped giving the railroad broad permits to poison beaver.

        Make sure the DNR knows your feelings about the beavers on or near your land.

  17. ” they have not only expanded into many tundra regions where they’d never been seen before”

    How do they know?

    • How do they know? Pay attention in class-

      ‘“The animals have intuitively found that damming the outlet drainage channels at the sites of former lakes is an efficient way to create habitat. So a new lake is formed which degrades ice-rich permafrost in the basin, adding to the effect of increasing the depth of the engineered waterbody,” added Jones. These actions have their consequences: in the course of the 17-year timeframe studied, the overall water area in the Kotzebue region grew by 8.3 percent. And roughly two-thirds of that growth was due to the beavers.’

      The pioneer ancestors were Greenies and wanted to protect the permafrost wot has to be there as well as not wanting to wear synthetics. This is Greeny101 stuff.

      • That doesn’t answer the question as to how they know the beavers had never been seen there before. Did they question everyone who had ever been through the area? Ever? Maybe they were seen by other animals. It’s just a preposterous statement to make, and essentially unknowable.

        • Jeff Alberts: Please see my comments above, we see the same thing. We don’t even need to ask how hard they looked for what they didn’t want to find- any sign of historical presence of beavers. The “never seen before” sounds like something a twelve year old would say. To them, childish is a feature not a bug.

      • The beaver’s surname was Cleaver in the show. I didn’t get that one until I was a teenager with raging hormones.

  18. I have had a love/hate relationship with Beaver all my life. I operate 3 small weirs and one major dam for some small hydro projects I own, and they are constantly buggering up my water intakes, and building their dams so high beside my dam on the fishway/spillway channel, that I now have to blow their dams all up. However, if it wasn’t for the Beaver upstream on all these creeks and tributaries, I would only have half the annual water supply, since they impound water at spring freshet which slowly trickles through their dams on the entire reach of the creek providing water downstream for my hydro power and fish habitat year round.

    I have started mimicking the Beaver now, but not with sticks and mud, but with rocks. I have a lake in my upper watershed that is about 1 square mile, so 640 acres. At the outflow of the lake, I canoed in 20 tons of rocks I picked off my farm to the lake outflow and piled them up across the lake/creek outflow, with a V Notch designed into the middle to provide a slower release and to allow fish passage. When spring freshet happens, I get about 2 feet of extra live storage, and that slowly drains through the V Notch all summer/fall, and the lake/creek outflow slows as the water drops, since the V Notch gets narrower the further the lake drops. That is about 1,280 Acre Feet of free watering and it is auto regulating. The fish can pass, which is why I have a permit with the Wildlife Branch, but don’t need a complicated water license and an engineered dam. If we did this to a thousand lakes in a major river system, you could alter the flow and temperature of the water over the summer/fall, to a major benefit of wildlife and the fishery.

    I do this in creeks too, mainly to make a bit of a head pond that will freeze over and catch all the frazzle ice before it clogs up my water intakes in winter. This also creates habitat for all kinds of critters and wildlife. One of the dams I built was with Ducks Unlimited but only use the storage in winter, and leave the lake high all summer for the Moose and everything else. They are about the only real environmental organization that puts their money where their mouth is. Wetlands are a positive thing, and these alarmists know it. The permafrost melting will capture more future CO2 for generations on that land base from new perpetual growth, than the one off event of some escaping methane.

    • I read the Spectator newspaper, and live in England. Recently, there has been an entertaining exchange in that paper about a famous Englishman giving his opinion on gardens, who apparently said ‘any garden, however small, should have at least two acres of rough woodland’. Well, this was funny, because most people in England don’t have a garden even remotely big enough to have a few trees in, never mind two acres of rough woodland. But I do envy people who live in a country where someone can say ‘I have a lake in my upper watershed that is about 1 square mile, so 640 acres’. Personally, I have a puddle in my back garden, where we sometimes entertain mosquito larvae. Your sense of scale is magnificent. Enjoy it. The greens will evict you, because you are not natural.

    • Earthling2,
      Always said: Boys have their toys, men have their tools; but REAL men have trout streams (or bass ponds.) Sounds like lots of fun projects for both you and the tundra-damming beavers.

    • “I have a lake in my upper watershed that is about 1 square mile, so 640 acres. At the outflow of the lake, I canoed in 20 tons of rocks I picked off my farm to the lake outflow and piled them up across the lake/creek outflow, with a V Notch designed into the middle to provide a slower release and to allow fish passage. When spring freshet happens,”

      That’s a lot of canoeing!

        • Just a normal 14′ Coleman indestructible fibreglass canoe, but I sank it with one load of too many rocks in about 9 feet of water when one little wave overtopped the gunwale and sank, straight down like a rock. Never had so much fun diving for rocks on a warm summer day, because the canoe sank almost instantly with the rocks in them so had to empty the canoe first to get the canoe to the surface. It only cost me the diesel for my 1 ton truck to haul the rocks 10 miles up to the lake boat launch, and a week of very enjoyable labor, about 20 truck trips and 40 canoe trips. One of the best investments I ever made. Sometimes low tech has more advantages than high tech, at least in this application.

  19. Finally something that celebrities can do to help… Bring the Beaver hat back into fashion so they can be profitably hunted to extinction….

  20. Where was it in the US, Colorado or somewhere, they had bought back Beavers, and had transformed the land from dry and barren to green and lush. They have a big impact of course, making habitat for fish, fowl, plants, everything that likes a lake, and all the benefits a lake brings.

    Anyway, permafrost. Well, it wasnt frozen 6000 years ago, so who cares.

    • exactly,most people believe that permafrost is permanently frozen ground. actually it is temporarily frozen and should be renamed Tempafrost.

    • Maybe you are thinking about Yellowstone where they introduced wolves that ate the elk that were eating all the creekside trees (aspen?). After the elk were reduced the trees recovered and provided material for the beaver which led to the result you point out.

      • I know of that story, it is a classic one of human failure. No, the beaver thing was just some farmer who bought them back and it transformed his land, gave him a steady water supply for his cattle.

    • Three Against the Wilderness by Eric Collier.
      It’s a great story, takes place in the early 20th century in Canada.
      It is or at least was, available on Amazon for Kindle

  21. In an area with permafrost, how can trees grow?
    If there are no trees, how can beavers thrive?

  22. Greens will love this beaver activity. Just think of all the hydro electric power that could be created! The installation of low head turbines each generating a whole 1000 micro watts. An installation of say, 20 turbines could provide enough power to energise one LED! if variable water levels were modelled to be a problem, then a grid scale, one AAA rechargeable cell could be fitted. Only left to discuss is financing these turbines. The greens would obviously use one of there schemes where the owners would get paid even if the turbines were not turning and to spice up the finance the lowercase m, in power units would be changed to uppercase M.

    • Great idea! But the water running thru the turbine-intake would be heard and immediately plugged up by the beavers. Maintenance with a gun instead of a wrench.

  23. You’re all too young to remember the writings of the North American Indian Grey Owl and his Beaver People? He turned out to be living in Guildford, Surrey, UK. I wept when my dream exploded. He had a lovely tribal wife, too. Anahareo.
    Any parallels with Climate Science?

    • Just last week re-read Pilgrims of the Wild and Half Breed, the story of Grey Owl.
      No parallels with Climate Science, just common sense and hard work.

  24. Perhaps a silly question but here goes. I thought beavers’ main source of food and building material was trees. Do you get many trees growing in permafrost?

  25. The beaver is a well known ecosystem engineer and keystone species.

    The bio-diversity that follows these creatures activities, is an ecologist’s dream.

    UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) ecologist Ken Tape has noted that:

    Their presence north of arctic treeline since the late 1990s may be a population rebound from the late 1800s”

    My question is, what are they damming these waterways with if there aren’t any trees?

    What are they eating?

    • Beavers will make dams with grass and mud.
      Here in South Dakota I’ve seen quite a few dams in small waterways that are made from corn stalks and reeds.
      They make bigger and better dams using trees, but they’re flexible.

  26. Ah, the good ol’ days! Remember the “Arctic is screaming”, the “Arctic death spiral”, and wild imaginings about the Arctic being a “time bomb”, from the wooly-brained Wadhams, and sower-of-pseudoscience Serreze and others? I guess they figure it’s been a while, so perhaps it’s time bring back the ol’ methane scare via “melting permafrost”. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  27. I live in a community adjacent to a National Park with a substantial beaver population. The thing about beavers is there are rodents, like rats and they breed like them too. Each beaver pair will produce an average of 4 pups per season over at least a decade of breeding. Each little beaver heads out into the wild to try to find their own place away from their birth home. Since the National Park is effectively full with all beaver habitat already taken, each year young beavers move out of the park into our rural municipality. They immediately try to turn everything into swamp. We had licensed beaver control officers who are called whenever someone’s field or pasture has been flooded and the officers go in and trap or shoot the beavers and dynamite the dams to get the drainage going again. They get paid by the kill and they all have stories about vicious attack beavers and smart trap evaders. These are SMART flat tailed rats. The fur, carcasses and above all the beaver scent glans are then sold by the lucky officer for extra cash. When I was a child the beaver on Canadian nickel was a source of sadness because beavers were nearly driven into extinction while proving fur to support the economic founding of Canada. Now I do not believe for even a second that beavers are finding their way into habitat they never before were in. Beavers spread and will every nook and cranny remotely suitable for beavers. And as soon as you remove them from somewhere the next generation arrives to try again. This whole boreal forest/arctic going to the beavers is just a return to beaver habitat before Europeans developed a taste for beaver fur hats. Greenies should be happy about this not whining about Climate Change.

  28. The giant beaver went extinct with the Younger -Dryas event about 12-13 thousand years ago along with the other mega fauna….in the western US there are semi arid lands that beaver transform on a local basis…a tiny creek is dammed and willows start growing along with other plants…a small garden of Eden….but generally speaking, the beav and man are not too compatible…..and what is their CO2 footprint?

  29. I am confused. Beaver need trees as well as water both as food and as dam building material. Normally that is deciduous trees.
    Although I am Canadian I am not very familiar with permafrost areas but do not imagine support for a lot of deciduous trees.
    Is this just another study imagined up for an area that few people ever see?

    • The beav can push rocks and sand and mud as part of a dam…..I used to have some beav living several hundred feet from my home…..they can kill a large tree by cutting a circle around the lower trunk….they can live in a hole in the bank of a stream…break a hole in their dam and it will be repaired by the next morning….I read a story about a tourist in Europe approaching a European beav to take a photo and the beav bit his leg cutting the artery…and the he died. Beav in the US lack natural predators….except for man.

  30. Like deer, beavers are spreading explosively in rural areas of the mid-Appalachians. They are destructive pests. Another example of animals getting out of control due to the cultural/legal suppression of hunting/trapping.

  31. any climate model without a beaver variable is fatally flawed and not fit for purpose … obviously … and they haven’t even studied the hummingbird situation …

    • And those butterflies! A real menace, responsible for tornadoes in Africa. Not to mention that their constant nocturnal flapping has cost me many a sleepless night.

  32. If Russia imports furs again the problem will be quickly solved. Alaskan beaver fur has been a Moscovian must-have since the age of the Czars.

  33. “The animals have intuitively found that damming the outlet drainage channels at the sites of former lakes is an efficient way to create habitat.”

    They build where they build. They don’t intuitively know that they have found the lake outfall … it’s just that the idiot that wrote the above statement only sees the biggest dam and the biggest impoundment … he sees what he wants/expects to see.

  34. I suspect that this study suffers from “presentism”.

    It may well be that the beavers were trapped out — exterminated — in the great Beaver Hat boom that made the Astors rich.

    “Demand for beaver fur led to the near-extinction of the Eurasian beaver and the North American beaver in succession. It seems likely that only a sudden change in style saved the beaver.”

    Trappers took beavers everywhere it was easiest to find them and Alaska was no exception. Traders preferred beaver pelts that had been worn for a season or two my the native peoples, as it prepared the skins for hat making, thus the natives benefited from trapping and wearing beaver coats which had high trade value.

    Personally, I think the beavers are moving back in re-occupying habitat from which they were drive into local extinction in the early 1800s.

  35. Three Against the Wilderness by Eric Collier.
    It’s a great story, takes place in the early 20th century in Canada.
    It is or at least was, available on Amazon for Kindle

  36. Let me preface this by saying that I live in Western Alaska. Beavers are occupying areas that they once did not. This may be related to tree migration, although I am seeing beavers evening places with no trees taller than the winter snow pack. I don’t doubt that they really are expanding beyond their historic range. As stated above the best way to deal with this would be to incentivize the harvest for the fur market. Perhaps Jay Z or some of these famous guys (sorry I don’t know their names) could do promo videos for beaver hats and the virtue signalers could feel good about saving the environment by culling the population. Doing so would also be a tremendous economic benefit to people living in areas with some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. I know that the elites meant well in destroying the fur industry, but as with many of their programs the people that suffer the most are those at the bottom of the economic food chain.

  37. In case there is not more beav info than anyone wanted….I have seen old beer cans incorporated into dams…whatever is available – the beav will involuntarily react to the sound of running water because wildlife people have planted a recording of running water in a beav dam and the beav tried to build the dam higher over the recording…maybe coyotes will control the beav, but what will control the coyotes?

    • Wolves. When they reintroduce wolves to an area one of the first things those wolves do is go control the coyote population, they are competition that can’t defend themselves against wolves. What controls wolves? Man but man can cut out the middle man and directly control both beavers and coyotes without reintroducing wolves. There just needs to be an incentive along with laws that allow controlling populations. Currently I can go out and shoot coyotes all day and all year long, no one will bat an eye or ask to see my license. For beavers I have to be mindful of regulations, permitting and seasons to take just one. Not my cup of tea so I’ve never done it.

      I understand their population was decimated at one point and needed protection but they’re a rodent. They literally breed like rats and repopulate in a hurry. The nutria was imported into our area for their fur, when the fur market dropped they were released in the wild. Didn’t take long for them to spread all over the place and become a serious destructive nuisance. Just like the coyote above I can shoot them all year round with no licensing or regulations to follow needed. With the poplulation rebound and few trappers (low fur prices) they don’t need the same level of protection they’ve enjoyed.

  38. They need to reintroduce French-Canadian trappers to the area. Are there any left, in perhaps zoos or trapper sanctuaries. And I admit I’m not sure, do they breed in captivity?

  39. Beavers can create a disaster scenario, if left unchecked. A very good friend and employee of mine had his log home destroyed by the breech of a beaver dam about a 1000 feet elevation above his very rural lakefront home. Basically, the beaver built a dam at a small creek where the creek channel was constrained by a narrow rock canyon, with a large flat meadow before the creek drained down the mountain, nearly vertical. The beaver built up the dam about 11-12 feet over several years in an old logging block up above on a flat bench, and then a few years back at a large freshet snowmelt, the dam completely breeched instantly releasing about 100 acre feet of water which is about 4,356,000 cubic feet of water (33 million US gallons) which roared down the small creek channel picking up VW sized boulders all the way down. Not a lot of water in the scheme of things, but it was all at once. It is absolutely amazing the amount of damage even a relatively small amount of water can do.

    They were having a family barbecue on their dock on the other side of their house and barely escaped with their lives. But their entire property was basically destroyed including their log home in less than 7 minutes of peak instantaneous flow, ripping out 3 foot diameter green Fir trees in the creek canyon. This created so much stress in his life, that he had a heart attack and died just last month, which I think a lot of that stress came from his loss of his home and property after a life time of hard work. So, the lesson here is to monitor beaver dams if there is any risk downstream from a beaver dam failure. Note to self…and RIP Ron.

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