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Bison Herd Equivalent to Taking 2 Million Cars Off The Road

New research shows that a herd of 170 bison roaming Romania’s Țarcu mountains have such a positive environmental impact, that it's equivalent to taking almost two million cars of the road for a year.


European bison - an adult and calf
European bison in the snow

This herd of bison is one of the largest free-roaming populations in Europe and according to Professor Oswald Schmitz of the Yale School of the Environment, who was the lead author of the report: “Bison influence grassland and forest ecosystems by grazing grasslands evenly, recycling nutrients to fertilise the soil and all of its life, dispersing seeds to enrich the ecosystem, and compacting the soil to prevent stored carbon from being released."


“These creatures evolved for millions of years with grassland and forest ecosystems, and their removal, especially where grasslands have been ploughed up, has led to the release of vast amounts of carbon. Restoring these ecosystems can bring back balance, and ‘rewilded’ bison are some of the climate heroes that can help achieve this.”


This latest research by the Yale School of the Environment was funded by the Global Rewilding Alliance and, reports The Guardian, calculated the additional amount of atmospheric CO2 that wildlife species help to capture and store in soils through their interactions within ecosystems.


In another major boost to the idea of rewilding landscapes, the European bison herd grazing in an area of nearly 50 sq. km of grasslands within the wider Țarcu mountains, was found to potentially capture an additional 2m tonnes of carbon a year. That is nearly 9.8 times more than without the bison. This corresponds to the yearly CO2 emissions of 1.88m average US petrol cars.


“This research opens up a whole new raft of options for climate policymakers around the world,” said Magnus Sylvén, the director of science policy practice at Global Rewilding Alliance.

 

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