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170 Bison Herd: CO2 Offset Equal to 2M Cars – Study

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Large herbivores like European bison may be an effective weapon in the fight against climate change, according to research being done on the species in Romania. According to a new model created by scientists at the Yale School of the Environment, a herd of just 170 bison could store enough carbon dioxide (CO2) to remove almost 2 million cars off the road for a year.

The study emphasizes the significance of wildlife conservation in preserving ecosystem health; it has not yet undergone peer review. The additional CO2 that animals like bison aid in capturing and storing in the soil through their natural behaviors is calculated by the model.

“Bison influences 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,” explained lead author Prof. Oswald Schmitz of Yale to The Guardian.

“These animals have evolved over millions of years in ecosystems that include grasslands and forests; their removal, particularly in areas where grasslands have been cleared for farming, has resulted in the massive release of carbon.” The’rewilded’ bison are among the climate heroes who can contribute to the restoration of these ecosystems and the restoration of balance.”

Alexander Lees, a reader in biodiversity at Manchester Metropolitan University who was not involved with the study, said it “makes a convincing case for European bison reintroduction as a nature-based climate solution-one with major biodiversity conservation co-benefits.”.

The research team studied a herd of European bison reintroduced to Romania’s Arcu Mountains in 2014. The species had been absent from the region for nearly 200 years, but today the Arcu Mountains boast one of the largest free-roaming bison populations in Europe.

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