Known as “ecosystem engineers” or “nature’s architects” because of their ability to build dams, beavers’ work greatly impacts the habitats around them.
Beavers are the great architects of American ponds and streams. They can stay underwater for around 15 minutes and live to twenty years.
Their powerful rear paw assists them in swimming, while their front paws have claws to dig and handle wood, sticks and twigs, which they use to build dams.
Their sharp incisors can cut into a tree, and their strong jaws can manipulate the trees.
These beaver-made dams can reduce stream erosion by creating slow-moving ponds. These ponds also serve as habitats for many mall aquatic life and provide water and food for larger animals.
These beavers’ abilities can make them useful agents in reducing the impacts of climate change.
The World Economic Forum article, “Beavers can help mitigate the effects of climate change. But how significant is their impact?” says that as heatwaves and droughts become more frequent, beavers’ can play a role in protecting the landscape from these risks.
The article mentions the following:
- Their ability to build dams and ponds to store and retain water can make the area fire-resistant.
- Habitats resulting from these dams and ponds can also stimulate nature recovery and reverse biodiversity loss.
- However, the article warns that beaver’s capacity has its limits and that we should not leave all responsibility to them to reduce the impacts of droughts and wildfires.
The video below shows how beavers can protect an area from wildfires: