Even species as small and relatively uncharismatic as beavers produce dramatic changes in the environment, to the benefit of many species and the detriment of others. This press release caught my eye partly because of the debate over how reintroduction of wolves has changed Yellowstone National Park. It’s also of interest because the British, who seem t0 suffer from a profound fear of their native wildlife (wolves, bears, badgers), are currently debating reintroduction of beavers (with much “we shall fight in the fields and in the streets” rhetoric):
Felling trees, building dams and creating ponds — beavers alter the landscape in ways that are beneficial to other organisms, according to ecologist Carol Johnston of South Dakota State University.
“Beavers influence the environment at a rate far beyond what would be expected given their abundance,” said Johnston, who is…
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