Important new research by a team of Finnish scientists led by Petri Nummi has determined that beavers may or may not accelerate climate change. "Beaver disturbance affects soil organic carbon storage by decreasing or increasing it, resulting in a redistribution of carbon," according to the team's most recent paper. "More research is needed with continuous flux measurements and from ponds of different ages. Likewise, there is a need for more studies in Eurasia to understand the effect of beaver on carbon biogeochemistry."
Quite right. If the beaver's impact on carbon biogeochemistry extends beyond the western hemisphere, we must act immediately to confront the global dimensions of the threat. Let no pond abide undisturbed.
Here in Canada, though, where the winsome, industrious beaver is never far from our thoughts and prayers, the implications of Professor Nummi's ground-breaking findings are unpropitious, to say the least. Sensing that international pressure for a beaver cull (or, more likely, the imposition of beaver contraception) could undermine his chance for reelection, PM Justin Trudeau has this week quietly dropped “climate change” from the name of the cabinet committee that determines environmental policy. It's a shrewd move, the more so because it has gone mostly unnoticed in our NAFTA-obsessed media.
Beaver incursions into the Alaskan tundra are one thing, but Eurasia? That's a different matter entirely.