Monday, November 16, 2009

A Big Tree

Sometimes beavers get pretty ambitious and try felling a really big tree. This isn't always successful, and it's fair to say that most of the larger trees tackled by beavers survive the experience, at least for a period of years. Ultimately the beaver may benefit, especially if wind finishes the job the beaver started.

Most of the bigger trees around Hinton are well within the capabilities of an ambitious beaver lumberjack. This picture shows a big black cottonwood on the floodplain of the Nechako River at Prince George, B.C. The beavers chewed away about 2/3 of the circumference of the tree, which I estimated at about 120 cm in diameter at the point of beaver attack. Eventually the beaver gave up, and the tree survived. The bark has since grown over part of the wound, so this tree has certainly survived a number of high wind events. There was an active beaver lodge less than 20 m from this tree. This beaver colony is still waiting for their windfall.

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