Beaver: The North American freshwater climate action plan

Chris E. Jordan, Emily Fairfax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rivers and streams, when fully connected to their floodplains, are naturally resilient systems that are increasingly part of the conversation on nature-based climate solutions. Reconnecting waterways to their floodplains improves water quality and quantity, supports biodiversity and sensitive species conservation, increases flood, drought and fire resiliency, and bolsters carbon sequestration. But, while the importance of river restoration is clear, beaver-based restoration—for example, strategic coexistence, relocation, and mimicry—remains an underutilized strategy despite ample data demonstrating its efficacy. Climate-driven disturbances are actively pushing streams into increasingly degraded states, and the window of opportunity for restoration will not stay open forever. Therefore, now is the perfect time to apply the science of beaver-based low-tech process-based stream restoration to support building climate resilience across the landscape. Not every stream will be a good candidate for beaver-based restoration, but we have the tools to know which ones are. Let us use them. This article is categorized under: Science of Water > Hydrological Processes Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems Water and Life > Conservation, Management, and Awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1592
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. WIREs Water published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • beaver
  • climate change
  • floodplain connectivity
  • process-based restoration
  • water security
  • wildfire

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