Bison: An Unexpected Alley In Combating Climate Change

In 2014, a pioneering project in Romania reintroduced European bison to their ancestral home in the foothills of the Tarcu Mountains. These majestic creatures had vanished from the region for over 200 years.

European Bison

A Decade of Transformation

Fast forward a decade, and the results are nothing short of remarkable. Researchers have documented a significant ecological transformation driven by the bison herd’s return. A recent study, though yet to undergo peer review, reveals a surprising benefit: the 170-strong herd appears to be removing a staggering 54,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually.

Equivalent to Taking Cars Off the Road

This translates to eliminating the CO2 emissions of a whopping 43,000 American cars in a year. Even more impressive, it’s nearly ten times the amount of carbon sequestered by the ecosystem before the bison’s comeback. This research strengthens the case for leveraging animals, not just technology, to combat climate change.

Beyond Planting Trees

Traditionally, carbon offsetting efforts have heavily focused on tree planting. While trees play a vital role, this study suggests we shouldn’t overlook the power of wildlife. Bison, through their grazing patterns, nutrient cycling, and seed dispersal, promote healthy grasslands that store significant amounts of carbon.

A Call for a Broader Approach

This Romanian experiment offers a refreshing perspective. It’s a reminder that large mammals play a crucial role in the carbon cycle. As we tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, rewilding initiatives, including well-researched reintroductions, can be powerful tools.

Reference- The Guardian, Futurism, Vox, Euronews, BBC, Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences,, National Geographic