Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 51

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER | LE RETOUR DES CASTORS

| NICK PAGE

BEAVER
THE
DISRUPTOR:
TOLERATING DISORDER IN
THE HEART OF VANCOUVER

1

FR_ RESUMÉ
LE CASTOR, CE TROUBLE-FÊTE : TOLÉRER
LE DÉSORDRE AU COEUR DE VANCOUVER
Que se passe-t-il quand les castors
réinvestissent les terres humides, les étangs
et les ruisseaux de la ville? Depuis dix ans, à
Vancouver, quelque 45 castors colonisent des
parcs et terrains de golf où on ne les avait pas
vus depuis un demi-siècle. Nick Page examine
comment ils ont foutu la pagaille dans les
terres humides « ordonnées » de la ville,
comment on relève le défi de la coexistence
entre ces gros rongeurs et les condos du front
de mer - mais aussi comment on s'émerveille
de la présence de ces animaux industrieux.
EN_
IF COYOTE IS THE TRICKSTER of the natural
world, then surely Beaver is the Disrupter.
Disorder and messiness surround beavers like
the aura of dust that follows Charles Schulz's
Pig-Pen character. Except the dust is replaced
by felled trees, chewed shrubs, dammed
creeks and ditches, and flooded forests.
Beavers are a multi-dimensional and admirable
species. They are an iconic part of our national
identity (just look at the nickel), and they've
played a pivotal role in the foundation of
Canada. They are a long-standing emblem of
hard work and industriousness that is loved
by school children. They are a key part of
healthy wetlands. But beavers are also a bad
neighbour that challenges our tolerance for
messiness and disorder.

ECOSYSTEM ENGINEERS
Before thinking about the disorder caused
by beavers, let's first consider their role as
ecosystem engineers. Beavers are essential
for sustaining wetland and floodplain
habitats in many landscapes, and act
as a linchpin in a complex food-web. In
large natural landscapes such as Banff
and Yellowstone, research has shown
that beavers interact with elk and wolves
to increase biodiversity along rivers and
wetlands. All three species thrive when
flooding caused by beavers sustains marshes
and willow thickets. (Elks, like beaver, love to
browse on wetland willows, and wolves love
to feed on elk.) But beaver are also of major
importance to juvenile salmon that thrive
in deeper floodplain wetlands that retain
water during the summer. Wetlands with
beavers are characterized by a richer mosaic
of vegetation including standing dead trees
for cavity nesting birds and small mammals,
shrub thickets for foraging songbirds, and
more open water (particularly during the
summer) for species such as ducks, herons
and otters, and a plethora of insects.
Beavers also strongly influence the
movement of water and the deposition of
nutrients at the watershed scale by creating

wetlands that act as sinks for fine sediment
and organic carbon. Healthy wetlands help
reduce flood risk and contribute to climate
change adaptation. So important is the
beaver's role that Wales and Scotland
are re-introducing the European beaver,
which was hunted to extinction in the UK
centuries ago.
THE URBAN BEAVER
But what happens when beavers move back
to wetlands, ponds and creeks in an urban
landscape? As fur has fallen from fashion,
trapping pressure has declined, and beaver
populations have rebounded throughout
British Columbia's south coast. They're now
found throughout the Lower Fraser Valley in
habitats they haven't used for decades.

1+2 IN 2015, 2 BEAVERS MOVED INTO HINGE PARK; IN 2016,
THERE WERE FIVE. | 1 + 2 EN 2015, DEUX CASTORS ONT ÉLU
DOMICILE À HINGE PARK; ILS ÉTAIENT CINQ EN 2016.
PHOTOS 1 VANCOUVER PARK BOARD 2 WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/STEVEHDC

2

SUMMER | ÉTÉ 2017 51



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Summer 2017

TO BEGIN WITH | POUR COMMENCER
COLLABORATORS | COLLABORATEURS
PROLOGUE
ESSAY | ESSAI
Après le désordre vient le beau temps
A Fine Mess
Biophilic City
“I Am the Space Where I Am”
OPINION
Homo the Homogenizer? Do LAs Design Messy Terrain?
Waste-Less in Seattle: How Will This Look When It Gets Dirty?
Beaver the Disruptor Tolerating Disorder in the Heart of Vancouver
Messiness by Intention
CRITIQUE
@landtecanada Taking It With You
THE LAST WORD | LE MOT DE LA FIN
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - intro
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - cover1
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - cover2
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 3
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 4
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 5
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 6
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 7
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - TO BEGIN WITH | POUR COMMENCER
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 9
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - COLLABORATORS | COLLABORATEURS
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 11
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 12
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 13
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - PROLOGUE
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 15
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 16
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 17
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 18
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 19
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - ESSAY | ESSAI
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 21
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 22
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - Après le désordre vient le beau temps
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 24
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 25
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - A Fine Mess
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 27
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 28
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 29
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 30
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - Biophilic City
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 32
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 33
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - “I Am the Space Where I Am”
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 35
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 36
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 37
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 38
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 39
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - OPINION
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 41
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 42
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - Homo the Homogenizer? Do LAs Design Messy Terrain?
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 44
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 45
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 46
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - Waste-Less in Seattle: How Will This Look When It Gets Dirty?
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 48
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 49
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 50
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - Beaver the Disruptor Tolerating Disorder in the Heart of Vancouver
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 52
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 53
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - Messiness by Intention
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 55
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - CRITIQUE
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 57
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - @landtecanada Taking It With You
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 59
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 60
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 61
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 62
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 63
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 64
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 65
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 66
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 67
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 68
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 69
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 70
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 71
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 72
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - 73
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - THE LAST WORD | LE MOT DE LA FIN
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - cover3
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - cover4
Landscapes - Summer 2017 - LPPlus1
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