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The Beaver

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Introduction

The Beaver It has been estimated that the beaver has been in North America for approximately 6 million years. This animal has had a pinnacle role in shaping our nations history. Some Native American's call this large rodent the "Keystone species" (www.beaversolutions.com). These animals, like humans, have the ability to morph the habitat around them to serve their needs. The beaver's actions create a habitat that supports hundreds of other organisms. Beaver ponds can be compared to rain forests as far as sponsorship of biodiversity. Native Americans have served and continue to serve an important role in the preservation of this animal and its habitat. The beaver is North America's largest rodent. This 40-60 pound animal has had a profound role in influencing the history of this continent. Beaver products (furs, castoreum, etc...) once were at the same value as gold. British and French entrepreneurs sought after furs for their wealth and value as a status symbol. Beaver top hats were an elegant way to stay dry and display wealth. ...read more.

Middle

The wetlands are the unique habits that house hundreds of diverse organisms. These damns decrease damaging floods, remove pollutants from surface and ground water, decrease erosion, and support biodiversity. These benefits are ones that the Native American's realized and continue to be advocates for today. The decline of original wetlands is one of the most serious environmental problems facing the United States today. In fact, more than half our wetlands have already been lost. In the 1600's, over 220 million acres of wetlands existed in the lower 48 states. Since then, extensive losses have occurred, with many of the original wetlands drained and converted to farmland. Today, less than half of the nation's original wetlands remain. Activities resulting in wetlands loss and degradation include: agriculture; commercial and residential development; road construction; impoundment; resource extraction; industrial siting, processes, and waste; dredge disposal; silviculture; and mosquito control. Wetlands prevent flooding by holding water much like a sponge. By doing so, wetlands help keep river levels normal and filter and purify the surface water. ...read more.

Conclusion

"This resistance has continued from generation to generation, and provides the strong core of today's Native environmentalism. This is why 500 or more federally recognized reservations and Indian communities still exist, why one-half of our lands are still forested, much in old growth, and why we continue the work of generations past by opposing dams like the Kinzua Dam in Pennsylvania and those on the Columbia River, clearcutting, nuclear-waste dumping, and other threats to our lives and land" (LaDuke). I believe if all people, Native Americans, Americans, Canadians, politicians, envrironmentalists and citizens alike, realized the importance that the beaver and more importantly the wetlands have, a clear solution could be found. Disrespect for the environment is a downfall in our american society in my opininion. If more people thought on a worldwide and futuristic scale, they would be terrified to face the future if we don't change how we treat our environment. I believe traditionally, Native Americans have a deeper respect for the environment. Perhaps we should take some lessons from them instead of worrying where to put the next minimall. ...read more.

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