Organization plans to restore bison-driven ecosystem to Montana

A Montana nonprofit organization is importing bison on land it has purchased with the goal of restoring the natural ecosystem that the creatures once engineered in the region. The nonprofit, American Prairie, formed about two decades ago in the Northern Great Plains of Montana. The number of bison it restored has grown from the original 16 translocated there in 2005 to 774 in January 2023. The organization’s goal is to have 6,000 bison on 500,000 contiguous acres of land. It currently owns 121,023 acres of land and has leased 334,817 acres of public land, but many of these acres are not contiguous. Securing the land has been the biggest challenge for the organization so far. American Prairie already works with neighboring Indigenous Tribes, and hopes to develop a co-management system with them in the future. Ecologists believe that restoring bison to large swaths of land will have a trickle-down effect on the ecology, improving the diversity of birds, plants and a host of other organisms in the area.

Read more at The New York Times.

Header Image: Bison graze in the prairies. Credit: USDA/Jack Dykinga