The Beaver is so retro!
I am thinking that Canada should choose a creature that has real environmental significance. My choice for Canada is the Mountain Pine Beetle. It has destroyed around about half the merchantable timber in the 18 million hectares of pine forests it has attacked.
It is spreading its distribution eastwards, having crossed the Rocky Mountains in clouds by way of the wind vector. One thought is that it is doing well because the deep frost winters that used to suppress their numbers are now not as common as they used to
be. Bark beetle explosions, and the consequent destruction, have been a northern hemisphere feature. In Canada it is estimated that the Mountain Pine Beetle (by desequestering carbon stored in the forests it has killed) has negated ALL the measures taken by
Canada to date to reduce carbon emissions. There are many species of bark beetles and the Mountain Pine Beetle is only one of the species that appears to be appreciating the consequences of global warming.
In ecological term their activities are having three and possibly four significant consequences. The first is that in many instances they replace old growth forests with regrowth of the same species; the second outcome in some places is that the original
forest species is replaced completely by a new species of forest; the third outcome is that they stuff up the hydrology of the forests they kill; and the fourth outcome, and this is still open to strong debate, is that they alter the fire regimes of the forests
They ought to be a salutary reminder that, just as global warming trends will not be linear, neither will various biotic responses be linear.
The Mountain Pine Beetle is, therefore, for Canada an appropriate innovative, agile and exciting forward looking symbol for the nation.