Home Science and technology Studies Suggest : 170 Bison Herd Could Offset CO2 Equivalent To 2 Million Cars

Studies Suggest : 170 Bison Herd Could Offset CO2 Equivalent To 2 Million Cars

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Researchers who are studying European bison in Romania have found that bison may be a powerful tool to fight against climate change as they found that a herd of 170 bison could store an amount of carbon dioxide which is similar to taking around 2 million cars off the road for a year. 

This study done by the scientists at the Yale School of the Environment has not been peer-reviewed, but shows the importance of wildlife conservation in maintaining healthy ecosystems. The model shows that the additional CO2 that animals like bison can help capture and store in the soil through their natural behaviours. 

“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 the lead author Professor Oswald Schmitz of Yale.

“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.”

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 study shows that the species was not present in the region for more than 200 years as they studied the European bison as they were seen again in Romania’s Arcu Mountains in the year 2014.

Oswald Schmitz, the lead author of a recent study, had earlier estimated that safeguarding and restoring just nine animal species—marine fish, whales, sharks, grey wolves, wildebeest, sea otters, musk oxen, African forest elephants, and American bison—could capture an additional 6.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. This quantity is approximately equal to the yearly emissions of the United States.

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