One of my takeaways from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s ‘ Braiding Sweet Grass’ is the native tradition of abstracting (?) flora and fauna as ‘persons’. Beaver people, beaver nation. Instead of relating to *others* as it’s they become who’s. Completely changes one’s relationship with nature. The trophy hunting slaughter of the buffalo comes to mind. I’m out of my depth but you get our picture and that’s why I’m here!
They - the beaver round here - impress me with the level of persistence and dedication to the projects they decide to take on. They don't need 4 years of college or degrees, or permits or inspectors. They just get the job done. Frequently you can stand there and wonder at the scope. If I were to offer an area for beaver improvement, I'd suggest they stop taking lessons on crossing roads from the coons.
I am somewhat surprised you failed to mention another eco sculpting species, the buffalo herds in their millions. How deep is the top soil in Iowa or Nebraska? Surely 20 million or so years of 20 million chewing, stomping, churning poopers transformed the Great Plains into great plains.
As best I can tell, the idea that nature is fragile is as foolish an idea as could be. As things change nature evolves. While some niches vanish, new niches are created in consequence and they are occupied by new species with new adaptations.
We have a Platonic bias towards fixed static eternal pictures, but it seems to me that the more fundamental concept is the dance of change, and no opportunity is wasted.
A beautiful tribute to my favourite animal. Thank you. If only I was a fraction as industrious. They incidentally shaped the development of Canada, our early political allegiances and the economic trade routes, including my hometown, which boasts an early Hudson Bay trading post along the Champlain Trail. I had the pleasure to introduce many city folk and new Canadians to the engineering marvels of the beaver while guiding in Algonquin Park. They have shaped it in ways that define it for me, including hiking paths, paddling creeks and observation locations. If you want to observe a moose, or a wolf you find the beaver dam. The beaver is where it's at. I can watch their amazing workmanship, which seems closer to a brick layer than a framer, all day long. Parks Canada claims the largest dam in the world is in Manitoba, at nearly half a mile in length and several generations in the making. There is much we can learn from the beaver. https://parks.canada.ca/pn-np/nt/woodbuffalo/nature/beaver_gallery
In North Florida we see beavers but not many beaver dams. Wetlands suitable for them occur naturally. I worry that they are being pushed out by the Nutria (AKA Corpyu) a species that competes directly with them but with less need to modify their environment. My understanding is that alligators are their only predators. I wonder how alligators impact beavers? I think the beavers make lodges even when they don't make dams.
You may enjoy reading this response to a water authority about beavers. https://lettersofnote.com/2012/07/12/regarding-your-dam-complaint/
Absolutely fascinating - beavers are the original terraformers!
Just an off topic vector that might be of interest.
The Peer Review Journal culture needs shaking up as evidenced by your receipts.
Alternatives are emerging for example
Broaden the peer base to include anyone with enough interest.
Filter the goofballs yourself.
Let refereeing be public and accessible.
The cream will rise.