Small Bison Herd Negates Emissions of 43K Cars

Yale researchers see good news out of herd reintroduced in Romania
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2024 2:10 PM CDT
Small Bison Herd Negates Emissions of 43K Cars
Stock image of grazing bison.   (Dave Hutchison Photography)

A newly reintroduced herd of bison in Romania is inadvertently doing its part to help the warming climate. Researchers from the Yale School of Environment calculate that the 170 bison in the Tarcu mountains negate the carbon emissions of 43,000 gas-powered cars. The animals accomplish the feat in a few different ways, including by fertilizing the soil and spreading seeds, which helps the grasslands grow. They also help compact the soil with their heavy weight, which prevents stored carbon from being released, per the Guardian.

"These creatures evolved for millions of years with grassland and forest ecosystems, and their removal, especially where grasslands have been plowed up, has led to the release of vast amounts of carbon," says Yale's Oswald Schmitz, lead author of the study. "Restoring these ecosystems can bring back balance, and 'rewilded' bison are some of the climate heroes that can help achieve this."

Bison disappeared from Romania about 200 years ago, but they were successfully reintroduced to the Tarcu grasslands in 2014. They roam in an area of about 20 square miles, and the Yale model estimates they keep about 54,000 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere annually. (The model itself has been peer-reviewed, but these latest findings have not been yet.) The good news for fans of the bison is that researchers estimate the region can accommodate up to 450 of the animals. (More carbon emissions stories.)

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