💚 Beavers naturally restore wetlands
By using logs, rocks and mud to build dams in rivers, beavers can restore wetlands naturally.
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Wetlands are very important to biodiversity because they support both aquatic plants and wildlife. Sadly, due to agriculture and urban developments many wetlands are in danger of disappearing. Biologists and ecologists have come up with a new plan to manage and restore lands and wetlands - beavers.
Beavers are called “ecosystem engineers” by ecologists and biologists because they can reshape entire habitats to suit their needs. Beavers build dams to protect them from predators, sleep and raise their babies in. They use mud, branches, trees, rocks and grass to do so. The animals build these dams on waterways which slows down the flow of water, this keeps the water on the landscape longer, creating wetlands and ponds.
After a while, these areas become living and breeding spaces for a wide range of other species. Also, these dams reduce soil erosion and they retain sediment. Not only that, these dams absorb and filter out pollutants such as fertilizers, heavy metals and pesticides. Thanks to this, the water flowing downstream gets cleaner both for us humans as well as other species.
Beavers have been continuously reintroduced to areas in the US and Canada to restore wetlands for the last 50 years. Studies show that ponds created by the species have almost twice as many mammal species living in them compared to other ponds. Other studies show that these wetlands store a lot of water which makes plants in the area less affected during periods of drought. Eventually, the beaver wetlands will become peatlands as the dead vegetation gathers underwater.
It’s possible to create man made wetlands used to for example remove or filter contaminants found in water. This solution is very expensive and can cost between 10 000 US dollars and 100 000 US dollars per acre to build. They also take a long time to build and take up large areas of land. Unlike man made wetlands, the ones created by beavers are built on already existing waters and are built for free.
By using nature to restore our environment, we can help a greener and more sustainable future come sooner.
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