Monday, November 16, 2009
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.
So what caused this? Were the trees trying to make up for lost time? Were they stressed by drought? Why did the trees fail to withdraw their chlorophyll from their leaves? Nobody knows for sure, but we certainly missed out on a normal fall. Next year I hope we return to normal. I love the rain of golden leaves and the "yellow brick road" on all the local trails.