Today you’ll become a Beaver Believer thanks to my guest, Ben Goldfarb. Ben is the author of the book Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Aside from being an author, Ben is an environmental journalist, with writing appearing in The Atlantic, Science, The Washington Post, and many other esteemed publications. Ben holds a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Beavers truly are ecosystem engineers, capable of creating a series of habitats just by living their semi-aquatic lives. But did you know that not all beavers build dams and lodges? And in order to spend so much time in water, they have many amazing adaptations, such a a second set of lips behind their teeth that acts like a valve sealing off water.
And this is just the tip of the beaver lodge, so to speak. Ben tells us so many great facts about beavers and their ecology that I’m sure you’ll walk away with an expanded respect for these animals. Ben tells us why beavers are perhaps the quintessential keystone species, creating a disproportionate impact on the land. For example, beavers may actually help salmon populations, reduce and slow wildfires, recharge groundwater supplies, and much more. They create ponds, dig creek channels, and trigger ecological succession. We also discuss how beavers fit into the classic Yellowstone trophic cascade. Maybe I could have had a shorter interview if I just asked Ben what beavers don’t do?
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Links To Topics Discussed
People and Organizations
Emily Fairfax, PhD – Ecohydrologist who has researched how beavers make landscapes more fire resilient
Joe Wheaton – Fluvial Geomorphologist who has studied how beavers are restorative, and can be used like a restoration tool.
Sarah Koenigsberg – filmmaker for The Beaver Believers
Books and Other Things
Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter – by Ben Goldfarb
Note: links to books are affiliate links
Opening – Fearless First by Kevin MacLoed
Closing – Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLoed
Both can be obtained from https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/