Increasing trans-species security by deconstructing the securitization of beaver on the West Coast

Authors: Jeff Baldwin*, Sonoma State University
Topics: Animal Geographies, Historical Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems
Keywords: Beaver, biothreats, wildlife management culture
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 7, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Flint describes securitization as a process which defines certain processes, entities, or in this case species are constructed as threatening, and so require an often deathly response. This paper examines the discourses through which beaver have been differently constructed as biothreats in Oregon and California. Though charismatic in Oregon (the State animal), through a complex historical process, this keystone species capable of maintaining perennial wet habitats have been made both killable and largely invisible. The study identifies wildlife management agencies and professionals as central to the securitization of beaver populations, detailing the role of internal cultures and of capital in producing knowledges which support extirpation. It then argues that these same agencies and professionals are central to shifting human-beaver inter-relations to built security for these and a myriad of other co-adapted species.

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