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lake photo pair
Photo Credits: Fred Dean (1976), Carl Roland (2005)
Ecoregion: Cook Inlet lowlands
Change Type: Unique features
Unique featuresAnimation is available
Pictured is a small boreal pond on a terrace above the Chulitna R. south of the Alaska Range in Denali in 1976 and 2005. This photo pair tells an interesting story unrelated to long-term change but directly related a common and important dynamic in the boreal landscape of Alaska - the shifting effects of beavers on the landscape mosaic. There are three things clearly visible in the 1976 photo that are absent from the 2005 photo 1) the small patch of birch trees at the upper left (NW) corner of the lake; 2) the obvious "trails" or beaver slides cutting through the yellowish sedge meadow and entering the north end of the lake, which all point towards the third item; 3) the small reddish dot in the lake a few meters from the upper (west) shoreline, which is likely a beaver lodge. The beaver familys tenure in this pond probably ended shortly after the final demise of the birch trees (a preferred food source) at the teeth of the beavers. Beavers are known to eat themselves out of house and home (e.g. birch trees) and then move on to greener pastures.