Who would you hire to turn a commercial forest into a natural woodland? Landscapers, gardeners, arborists, engineers, designers, architects, environmentalists, conservationists, the list of choices is endless. In fact, this type of job would probably require multiple professions working together.
How about bison?
In the Kent countryside near Canterbury, the Wilder Blean project has brought in three wild bison to be their “ecosystem engineers”. These bison mark the first wild bison to roam free in Britain in thousands of years!
By eating bark off trees, using their bulk to open up trails, and rolling around in the dirt taking dust baths, bison's natural behavior can allow light to reach the forest floor, and create more open space for new plants and wildlife. This in turn should help new plants, insects, lizards, birds and bats to thrive in the area without relying on human intervention.
The Wilder Blean project and environmentalists are hoping that this endeavor will spark a new era for conservation in which keystone plant and animal species are used to reclaim and manage land and help tackle the climate crisis.