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As wild bison return to Banff National Park, geographers study their impact on vegetation – UCalgary

by ahnationtalk on August 8, 201863 Views

Iconic mammals will become ‘ecosystem engineers,’ creating a cascade of ripple effects

This summer, as wild bison are reintroduced to Banff National Park for the first time in over a century, geographers from the University of Calgary have been surveying the move intently. But, rather than focusing on the bison, they’re zeroing in on the impact the lumbering mammals might make on the ecosystem, in particular the park’s vegetation.

“We expect that the bison will have major impact on vegetation communities in the park,” says Dr. Greg McDermid, PhD, professor in the Department of Geography, who is leading the study. “Prior to the bison being let loose, we performed detailed vegetation surveys over the reintroduction zone. Having done so, we can come back to the area over the years and accurately observe the impact the re-entering bison might make on these pastures.

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