Animals such as reindeer, bison and horses could save the word from global warming and also save the Arctic, according a recent study. The study said that grazing the herbivores in the Arctic region helps in slowing down the pace of thawing permafrost in the Arctic.
The study is based on a computerised simulation based on real-life. It showed grazing of animals could save 80 per cent of permafrost soils in the world. An experiment in the town of Chersky, Siberia, which was featured on CBS News “60 minutes” inspired the researchers for the study. In the episode, there is an eccentric scientist called Sergey Zimov who resettles grazing animals to a piece of Arctic tundra more than 20 years ago.
Zimov and his son observed that grazing animals had positive impacts to the permafrost area. Permafrost is a thick layer of soil that is frozen year-round. Most of the permafrost area in the Arctic region is not permanently frozen because of climate change. Thawing releases heat trapping greenhouse gases from Permafrost ground. It has to be seen that scientists at Woods Hole Research Center had last year revealed that the Arctic region was no longer storing as much carbon as it was emitting back into the atmosphere.
Zimov’s idea was to make the ground compress and chill the soil using the hoofs of the animals. In order to see the real impact of this, Professor Christian Beer of the University of Hamburg held a simulation experiment. A special climate model was used by him and his team to replicate the impact on the land surface throughout all of the Arctic permafrost soils over the course of an entire year. It was seen that the ground only warmed by 4 degrees Fahrenheit with the increase of animals in the Tundra region. They said that this could preserve 80 per cent of the permafrost.
However, Beer said that more research was needed in this.