The US is bringing back nature’s best firefighters: beavers
Beavers are vital to ecosystems, as their dam building habits spread water through parched landscapes. This can not only help to regulate the flow of water, it provides another important service – keeping fires under control. Beavers are nature’s firefighters. Despite their monumental impact on the environment, beavers were almost wiped out in the US during the fur-trapping trade. … Attitudes that beavers are a nuisance, because of the damage they can cause to human-built structures – such as flooding culverts, the drain pipes that channel water through roadways and other structures, and felling trees – also prevailed long after beaver fur hats went out of fashion. For decades, the animals were trapped, shot, poisoned, and their dams dynamited – all to eradicate the keystone species from their native lands. Landowners simply didn’t want them messing with the ecosystem. Since the battle against beavers began, numbers have shrunk from millions to thousands. Now, the tide is beginning to shift, and beavers are making a comeback.