In the destructive wildfires that have burned through swaths of North American wilderness in recent years, climate change, arson and forest mismanagement have all been implicated.
A certain charismatic rodent may be at least part of the solution, regardless of the culprits. Recent research shows that beavers build oases of wet forest shielded from flames by damming watercourses.
Beavers provide patches in which other species will hunker down and have a greater chance of survival. But in certain cases, the behavior of the beaver may also be able to stop a wildfire entirely.
Water purification, drought tolerance, flood control, wetland formation, nutrient cycling, and carbon capture are ecosystem services provided by the dam-building activity of beavers.
should the government build an ecological restoration project around beavers ?