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The Beaver Garden Experiment

 
Jeff Hodgins
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I have a stream with a year old beaver dam on it. After just one year the sediment has built up enough to kill most of the plants near the bank. Now that the water is lower I'm starting to plant in the newly deposeted sandy soil. The vegitation traped underneath is now well on its way to decomposition, that should provide more than enough organic fertaliser for my plants.

So all I'm doing is finding new soil deposits (made buy beavers), poking holes with a javalin and droping seeds in. The beaver made the soil, killed the weeds and choped down the trees to let the light in.

Beavers also make a pile of mulch and wood for their home, I pushed a few seeds in at the bottom edge of his home too just to see. I'm hoping that beavers don't like beans and peas. Eventualy I will take over his home and make him build me a new hugleculture somewhere down the river. Beavers do kill trees but they make good slaves too. Just don't let them work on your planted trees.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I think beavers are mainly after tender tree branches, especially willows.  Willows and beavers seem to have a symbiotic relationship where beavers eat willow branches which causes the willows to sprout more branches (when people do this, they call it coppicing).  Things get out of whack when there aren't enough willows for the number of beavers in that area.  Then the beavers turn to larger trees in order to get at the tender branches at the top.

Willows readily sprout from cuttings.  This winter I helped lead volunteers in planting several thousand willows along a creek.  We have found that 3' cuttings pushed deep into the ground (leaving just 6" above ground) works best.  If the ground is too hard to just push it in that far, use a planting bar.

So if there are not already a lot of native willows along the water's edge, you might plant some willow cuttings next winter.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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let us know how this goes..i can just picture the daddy beaver bringing home the salads for the family
 
                            
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I've seen persimmons growing well on the banks of beaver marshes. I doubt beavers will eat 'simmon leaves (though everyone loves the fruit). Betcha paw-paws might like it there too. Don't think too much eats paw-paw leaves.

Also, I think the question now, given that beavers used to rule the eastern half of the continent, is how to nourish beavers and their population, not use and enslave them. I know this was a lighthearted comment and I don't offer this as judgment, only because I want to bring awareness to beaver and the pivotal role beaver has played in structuring the ecosystem for the benefit of life within the system. The killing of beaver for fur and the destruction of beaver wetlands across the eastern part of the continent was immense (in the millions) and has greatly changed and reduced productivity of the land on the whole. The return of beaver would perhaps be the greatest permacultural happening on the continent. If you want broadscale permaculture, forget all those tractors and machines and the fossil fuels and just invite back beaver. Now, how to craft beaver-invitation?
 
Jeff Hodgins
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"Beaver" Coming soon to a river near you. During the last decade the beaver has made a  huge comeback they have just recently reached the Niagra region and they're probably not going to take too long before they regain most of their old habitat. But people build their houses to low and they don't like beaver for that reason. Our Gov'nt has people hired to kill beavers, I think they should just change the building code or just say screw enyone dumb enough to build their house in a hole.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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the beaver used to dam just south of us but the people that bought the property constantly remove their dams..don't know if they are killing the beaver or not..but the dams are always being removed..i used to love to walk down there and see them (about 1/2 mile)
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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My sister saw a beaver hit by a car on the low-water bridge over the river about 1/2 mile from my house a couple years ago - we had no idea there were beavers around here.  But a lot of rare animals seem to be coming back - unfortunately you usually only see them as corpses on the road.    My husband saw a dead badger on the road.

 
Jordan Lowery
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i think the beaver is one of the other creatures than us on this planet who can have a huge impact on an environment. they can take a thick overgrown forest and create such diversity with there ponds, channels and clearing its amazing.

i wish the trappers didn't kill almost all the beavers hundreds of years ago.
 
John Polk
master steward
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I lived for a number of years in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.  There, beavers were considered an invasive species, and the local land owners (sheep farmers) would kill them on sight due to their destructive nature.
 
Dave Miller
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John Polk wrote:
I lived for a number of years in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.  There, beavers were considered an invasive species, and the local land owners (sheep farmers) would kill them on sight due to their destructive nature.

That is funny.  There are still a lot of beavers here (Washington state), and also a ton of nutria (coypu) which is a destructive invasive species from Argentina which the local people kill on sight.

Video: http://www.opb.org/programs/ofg/segments/view/1117
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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Beavers and nutria have very different impacts on the environment. Nutria mow off vegetation, but do not build wetlands and do not eat trees. Beavers build wetlands and eat trees but do not mow off vegetation.

Introduction of one into the habitat of the other has the potential to destroy that habitat, because the plants growing there are not adapted to the presence of the rodents.
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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Although the beavers might not eat the beans and peas, the establishment of a beaver pond makes the area more inviting to muskrats, who do enjoy eating vegetables.
 
                    
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BDAFJeff wrote:
Beavers do kill trees but they make good slaves too. Just don't let them work on your planted trees.


slavery is wrong, it makes you a parasite
 
Jeff Hodgins
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boddah wrote:
slavery is wrong, it makes you a parasite

It's actually more of a symbiosis. I protect the beaver from hords of humans who want to kill him, in turn he deposits soil and piles up some mulch for me. The End.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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It's not as if he is chaining the beaver up at beating it until it does his bidding, he is just enjoying the results of the beavers natural behavior.

Edit: We all know what an insufferable pedant I am
BDAFJeff wrote:
It's actually more of a symbiosis.

I'll just point out that parasitism is a form of symbiosis, what you mean is mutualism.
 
                    
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yes yes i know you probably were just using the term, but that was your term.

i was thinking about it after i posted that and in fact much of the livestock industry enslaves animals. i think that probably any industry that contains and kills animals has enslaved them. being a vegetarian i find that this is probably the main reason. i don't object to useful hunting, (with some stipulations)

but as for your beavers no thats probably not slavery, but i felt the need to point out your term. in fact like you say you are probably doing them a service in a way.
 
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