Applied Geospatial Research Group

Monitoring the Impacts of the Banff Bison Reintroduction on Vegetation Communities

August 3, 2018

The Applied GRG has been involved in an exciting project to assess the impact of the newly-reintroduced Banff National Park bison on vegetation communities in their core range.  Bison are "ecosystem engineers" whose wallowing, trampling, grazing, browsing, and even defecating activities have substantial effects on plant and animal communities around them.  We had a unique opportunity to survey parts of the bison reintroduction zone prior to their release to establish a baseline of what the vegetation communities, in particular shrubs and grass, look like before they are impacted by bison.  Over the coming years, we can repeat our surveys and quantify the effects of bison on these communities. We expect to see an increase in meadows and pastures, a decrease in shrub biomass, and a general increase in plant species diversity.

 

Take a look at the press release below for more information!

 

https://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2018-08-03/wild-bison-return-banff-national-park-geographers-study-their-impact-vegetation

 Photo by Peter White, Parks Canada

 

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