Climate change is not only causing more extreme weather events such as wildfires or hurricanes, scientists say. However, beavers are also changing their environment and contributing to a faster warming planet.
Satellite imagery and older aerial photography are used. Scientists have discoveredNorth American beavers are now further north in Alaska’s Arctic tundra. They have created more than 12,000 ponds west of Alaska, which is almost double the number of beaver-ponds over the past 20 years.
This is dangerous because beavers are a keystone species that can influence streams, rivers, and lakes in North America, Europe, and South America. They are well-known for changing landscapes by harvesting shrubs, trees, and saplings. These beavers then use these to construct dams and flood the surrounding landscapes to create a beaver-friendly environment.
Ken Tape, an ecologist from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and co-author of this new research, According to the Guardian, thaThese ponds absorb heat more effectively, and they alter the hydrology of the area, which in turn affects the way the permafrost reacts to it. Beavers are coming in from outside, disrupting the ecosystem and imposing their will.
Scientists are still trying understand why so many beavers move further north. They believe climate change may also be a factor. The Arctic, once a region that was reliably frozen, is now experiencing heat. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found that between October and Dec 2020, temperatures in the Arctic rose by a staggering 5%. The Arctic recorded the highest temperature ever recorded It dates back to 1900 and continues to heat twice as fast than the rest of the world.
Warming ice suggests a greater aqueous environment, which is exactly the thing beavers are seeking. Scientists also warned that the thawing permafrost (permanently frozen ground in high mountains and high latitudes such as Alaskan tundra) associated with beaver lakes would release carbon and methane.
Climate change would be worsened if we release more greenhouse gases into the environment.
Local communities in Alaska also noticed an abundance of beavers. Many are concerned about resources like fish, water quality, and boat access. Scientists discovered that beavers, at 66 per cent, are the dominant factor controlling surface water extent in northwest Alaska. This causes tundra vegetation to become too dense and thaws the permafrost beneath.
The Arctic Beaver Observation Network was created to study the dynamics, scale, and effects of beaver-engineering in the Arctic tundra. The group will discuss Alaskan issues during its March 1st meeting.
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