Droughts and Wildfires Be Dammed: how beavers help build landscape-scale climate resilience
Beaver-based restoration is gaining popularity as a low‐tech, low‐cost strategy to build climate resiliency at the landscape scale. Beavers slow and store water in their ponds, canals, and the surrounding soil during wet periods. During dry periods, the stored water is accessible to vegetation – effectively “irrigating” the riparian zone and keeping it green even during multiyear droughts. When wildfires ignite, especially in drought-stricken areas, the comparatively wet beaver-dammed landscapes are difficult to burn and instead can act as fire refugia. Having reliable drought and fire refugia, like those created by beavers, is of increasing importance for water quality and quantity issues and for the conservation of sensitive aquatic/semi-aquatic species (salmonids, amphibians, etc.).
Presenter: Dr. Emily Fairfax, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management at California State University Channel Islands