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Fri Nov 17, 2017, 09:26 AM

Beavers making themselves at home in an unlikely place: Alaska's northwestern tundra



FAIRBANKS — Animals the size of Labrador retrievers are changing the face of Alaska, creating new ponds visible from space.

“These guys leave a mark,” UAF ecologist Ken Tape said of North America’s largest rodents, beavers. He has observed the recent work of beavers north of Arctic Circle using satellite images. He and a group of arctic researchers have found the creatures have somehow colonized the tundra of northwestern Alaska, damming more than 50 streams there since 1999.

Beavers live in every province of Canada, every U.S. state and into northern Mexico. Range maps now need to be redrawn to include areas north of the treeline in Alaska and Canada.

Tape authored a photo book on shrub expansion in the Arctic and has written papers about moose and snowshoe hare appearing north of the Brooks Range. Beavers, he said, are a logical migrant to a warming north.

Read more: http://www.newsminer.com/features/sundays/alaska_science_forum/beavers-making-themselves-at-home-in-an-unlikely-place-alaska/article_322d7736-cb39-11e7-8b3d-370943f9da56.html

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