First “ecosystem engineer”, baby bison born after thousands of years


Steppe bison are believed to have lived in the UK around 6,000 years ago. The European bison from the Netherlands, thought to be a close descendant of the steppe bison, was introduced to Kent earlier in July.

Ecosystem Engineers

Bison are considered allogeneic “ecosystem engineers” because their natural behaviors can alter the environment around them. They modify their environment by grazing, disturbing the ground through movement, and wallowing.

Due to their penchant for rolling around in dust baths, the bison’s appetite for bark kills some trees, and their bulk clears paths, allowing light to penetrate to the forest floor.

This opens up more space for new species of plants, insects and birds. An old pine forest is destined to spontaneously recover as part of the Wilder Blean project.

According to Gibbs, who watched sloth worms bask and heard more birds chirping, the process happened fairly quickly.

“We hadn’t seen any dung beetles on the site, but all of a sudden they are thriving,” he said.

First baby bison born after thousands of years in UK

“They’ve created tracks and paths, which has already opened up the canopy, and they’ve been chipping away at the bark, which over time is going to create the standing dead wood that’s so valuable to a whole host of trees. different species,” said Vicki Breakell, conservation officer at the Wildwood Trust.


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