What would it take to create safety zones for wildlife on our landscapes during wildfires? Sounds like a lot of work, engineering and money! But not if you have beavers on the landscape. They not only protect riparian areas from burning, they do it for free.
Dr. Emily Fairfax, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Resource Management at California State University Channel Islands recently gave a webinar about her work with Beavers and Wildfires to the US Forest Service.
She was able to show how the riparian areas with beaver populations were able to preserve a safety zone from the fires, even during the most intense, multi-tens of thousands of acre wildfires. Temperatures around these riparian, dammed areas were in the range of 100-115 degrees (still hot) but livable, in comparison to the 200 degree plus surrounding air temperatures.
In summary, “beaver damming is a low cost systematic way to moderate riparian habitat damage during wildfire,” while still allowing forest fires to happen. Isn’t that something!
For more information on Dr. Emily Fairfax or to see her research, visit https://emilyfairfaxscience.com/research/ecohydrology-research/