Girl Planting seeds

Beavers gnawing away at the Arctic permafrost and why that's a bad thing

Alaska's beavers are profiting from climate change, and spreading rapidly. In just a few years' time, they have not only expanded into many tundra regions where they'd never been seen before; they're also building more and more dams in their new homes, creating a host of new water bodies. This could accelerate the thawing of the permafrost soils, and therefore intensify climate change, as an International American-German research team reports in the journal Environmental Research Letters. When it comes to completely transforming a landscape, beavers are hard to beat. Very few other animals are capable of changing their habitat as precisely as these brown-furred rodents, which can weigh up to 30 kilograms. Armed with sharp teeth, they fell trees and shrubs and build dams, causing small valleys to fill with water and forming new lakes, which can easily measure a few hectares. Read more...



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