Bóbr pomoże spowolnić zmiany klimatyczne

The beaver is on our side in the fight against climate change

We have an ally who will help us slow down climate change. Poles will be delighted.

This ally is a beaver – a large rodent, known for building dams and, in Poland, for memes. Satellite data show that the presence of beavers near rivers has a beneficial effect on biodiversity and the range of plants. More humid forests means less drought, fewer floods and fewer fires.

Beavers are good for plants

The data comes from the western United States, where beavers were exterminated and then reintroduced into the environment. Just look at the photo below from Little Wood River National Park in Idaho. You can clearly see the difference between a river around which a beaver population is developing (left) and a river where these animals have not been reintroduced (right). The darker the shade of blue, the better for the environment.

condition of mesophilic vegetation

The map above shows condition of mesophilic vegetationi.e. fond temperate climate and moderate humidity, such as meadows full of perennials and some types of forests. The surrounding mountains are dry and devoid of vegetation, but there are small mesophilic habitats near the rivers. Beavers effectively expand these habitats.

This is possible thanks to the amazing ability of beavers to influence the course of rivers. These rodents instinctively build dams from trees, branches and grass, slowing down the flowing water and often creating channels and pools. Thanks to this, water stays in the area longer, which favors the creation of wet meadows and groves. The process is self-propelling, because the larger the range of such a habitat, the more water it can hold and retain. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of fires, droughts and the devastating effects of floods.

The numbers confirm what intuition says. One of the rivers near the city of Preston, Idaho It is currently “flowing” for 40 days longer than before the beavers were introduced there. Animals have built over 200 dams along its course. Data provided by NASA, the Landsat satellite and the European Sentinel satellite help track the progress of beavers and identify further places where it is worth rebuilding the population.. It is worth noting that beavers must have access to materials from which they will build their phenomenal structures, so trees are essential. Scientists are encouraging beavers to settle in the area by building “preliminary” dams on rivers.

Unfortunately, it will take a long time to stop climate change, or at least restore the American beaver population to what it was 200 years ago. Unfortunately, people were fascinated by the fur of these rodents. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reports that There may be 10-15 million beavers in the U.S. today, and 300 years ago there may have been 400 million! Regulations on trapping them and exporting their fur were introduced far too late. Currently, several states, including California, Utah and Idaho, are conducting programs to reintroduce beavers to places where they were once abundant.

You can also come across beavers in Poland. It is worth remembering that the European beaver is partially protected. It is forbidden to destroy their structures or kill animals.

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