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Why are beavers and their super wild, messy wetlands essential?

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If you know anything about beavers, it’s probably that they build dams. These giant structures made of sticks, stones, and mud can reach heights up to 10 feet (3 meters) and lengths averaging 20 feet (6 meters) — though the biggest one ever found was significantly larger and could be seen from space. Dams completely alter the surrounding landscape, flooding the surrounding area and creating wetlands. It’s one reason beavers have often been considered pests that can cause serious damage when they build dams too close to homes or roads.”

beaver habitat

“But scientists have also understood beavers’ importance as ‘ecosystem engineers‘ for decades. And as the climate crisis continues to worsen, newer studies are finding that beavers play a vital role in dampening its effects — especially in areas prone to fire, drought, and even heat waves. To build a more resilient future, it might be best to look to the beavers.”

Why do beavers matter as the planet heats up? Learn more about these heat wave heroes and their super wild, messy, essential habitats with Vox video journalist Kim Mas and ecohydrologist Dr. Emily Fairfax.

dams cool lake water
beaver-made wetlands
Fairfax also created this wonderful stop-motion demonstration about beaver dams and wildfire.

Plus, more beavers on TKSST, including:
• What happens when beavers are reintroduced to England?
How do living things change their environments?
• Beavers Maple and Filbert build dams together

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