K-State study: Reintroducing bison to grasslands increases plant diversity and drought resistance | Cattle

A study led by Kansas State University found that reintroducing bison – a once-dominant grazer – doubles plant diversity in a tallgrass prairie. The research involves more than 30 years of data collected at the Konza Prairie Biological Station and was recently published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, or PNAS.






Close-up of a bison at the Konza Prairie Biological Station. (Photo courtesy of Jill Haukos.)


The study found that plant communities were also resilient to the most extreme drought in four decades. These gains are now among the largest recorded increases in species richness due to grassland grazing globally, researchers said.







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A herd of bison grazes at the Konza Prairie Biological Station. A new study by a Kansas State University researcher shows that reintroducing bison to the grasslands increases plant diversity and drought resistance. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Van Slyke.)


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