How a herd of reintroduced bison in Romania’s forests is helping to reduce co2

Having disappeared from Romania for 200 years, the European bison was reintroduced to the Țarcu mountains, at the southern end of the Carpathian chain, in 2014. There are currently 170 bison who - in a true "rewilding" operation - are reshaping the mountain landscape by counteracting greenhouse gas emissions

European bison, nearly wiped out across the continent by rampant hunting between the 17th and 19th centuries, faced near extinction. By 1900, only two wild populations remained: one in the Białowieża Forest on the border between Belarus and Poland, and another in the Western Caucasus mountains along Russia’s southern border with Georgia. These herds had vanished by 1927, and the species clung to survival in a handful of European zoos.

After disappearing from Romania over 200 years ago, Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania reintroduced bison to the Carpathians in 2014. This initiative is among several successful reintroduction projects that are helping large herbivores make a comeback.

Currently, there are about 7,000 free-roaming bison across Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, and Slovakia.

170 European bison reintroduced among Romania’s Țarcu mountains

In one of the largest free-roaming herds in Europe, 170 European bison have been reintroduced among Romania’s Țarcu mountains. The goal? These formidable animals could help capture and store the carbon released annually by approximately 84,000 average American gasoline cars.

Confirming this is new research suggesting these massive herbivores might play a role in mitigating the impacts of climate change. By grazing an area of about 18.5 square miles within a larger landscape of 115.8 square miles, the bison fertilize the grass and spread seeds, stimulating growth. With their immense girth, they also compact the soil, helping to keep carbon locked in the ground.

In this way, they contribute to capturing tons of carbon every year.

Bison are part of what are known as “umbrella species,” capable of helping flora and fauna thrive: their protection, in short, benefits many other species in the community, allowing the conservation of pastures and microhabitats.

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