Book Review: Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb

Author: Ben Goldfarb
Title: Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
Narrator: Will Damron
Publication Info: Chelsea Green Publishing (2018)

Beavers are important!  That is the message that you will get repeatedly while reading this book, although author Ben Goldfarb does not skimp on providing detailed evidence behind his thesis.  What we learn from reading this book is that the beaver’s most identifiable trait, building dams on rivers and streams, has a profound effect on the landscape.  When beavers were hunted for their pelts in colonial times it lead to the loss of beaver-facilitated habitats for numerous fauna and flora.

Daming also helps in preserving groundwater and preventing flooding and runoff as some farmers and ranchers have learned where managed beaver populations have been reintroduced.  Unfortunately, the benefits on the macro level can be damaging on the micro level, causing local flooding and damage despite being better for the region overall.  This contributes to the beaver being seen as a nuisance animals and extermination policies of many local governments.  Goldfarb documents the efforts of ecologists and scientists to convince people to learn to live with beavers.

It’s a very interesting and fact-filled book and definitely gave me new respect for the beaver!

Recommended books:

Rating: ****

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