Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Meet the Dutch beach bison

Sat Mar 3

. . The presence of bison, however, is not just something to excite ecologists and frighten the rest of us. According to Yvonne Kemp, European bison are known as a ‘keystone species’ that engineer greater biodiversity just by, well, being themselves . .

Noting the installment of artificial dune barriers and the encroachment of non-native vegetation, the blame was placed upon the decline of a common food source: specialist insects that need patches of open sand in a shifting dune scape to survive.

‘Bison open up the area,’ continues Yvonne, ‘they wallow a lot, so with this behaviour all year long you can see very much local patches of sand so pioneer vegetation [and insects] have a chance again.’ Since they also debark shrubs and trees, and encourage the dispersal of native grasses through their manure, the bison are essentially bringing back the original biodiversity for free.

The bison are back: rewilding the Dutch dunes brings back a mega beast

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