Ground Truth: Briefly

Beavers Can Spearhead Climate Action

A recent report by Emily Fairfax and Chris Jordan finds that “biological components,” beaver in particular, are critical to restoring “the full process-based functionality of connected floodplain systems.”

The authors note that rivers and streams, “are naturally resilient systems” when fully connected to their floodplains, improving water quality and quantity; supporting biodiversity; increasing flood, drought and fire resiliency; and bolstering carbon sequestration.

Without beavers, “The stream-floodplain system falls into disrepair. Once they are disconnected from their floodplain, down-cut, incised streams simplify into single-threaded channels. Sediment and carbon are exported from long-term storage, water warms and becomes eutrophic, the landscape dries out, and fires run for miles across a uniform expanse of fuel, all leaving little in the way of healthy habitat for fish and wildlife. …

“Process-led and beaver-based restoration should be the foundation of our national freshwater climate action plan.”