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Anna Santo is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia who has studied private landowners’ attitudes toward beavers in South America. Kai Chan is a professor and interdisciplinary sustainability scientist at the University of British Columbia.

April 7 is International Beaver Day, and lest you think these critters don’t deserve such an honor, you probably don’t know that they are, in fact, one of our best natural defenses against the warming effects of climate change.

As wildfire season approaches in the west, the North American beaver is an unlikely ally, one uniquely equipped to fight fires and store water.

As many as 400 million beavers populated North American landscapes before they were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s for their furs. Today, beaver populations are rebounding, and there is increasing evidence that landscapes with beavers are more resilient to fire, drought, and extreme weather. Beaver restoration is a cost-effective, nature-based way to protect people and adapt to climate change.

Restoring beavers isn’t a new idea; programs like the Tulalip Tribes’ Beaver Pro... Read more

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