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Bison: Healthy for the Environment and Healthy for You

Bison roam the native lands and pastures of North America. They are Mother Nature's perfected version of flavorful, healthy meat from the native grasses and other plants in our ecosystem. All bison spend the majority - if not all - of their lives on these native pastures.

Southern Oregon Bison - Wild Oasis Bison Ranch
Hello Big Guy - Checking us out from the field

More than 40 percent of North America’s natural landscape is comprised of native grasslands. These grasses are powerful carbon traps that remove carbon dioxide from the air and return it to the soil through the root system.

North America’s grasslands have evolved over thousands of years of continuous grazing by large ruminants, most notably the American bison. This symbiotic relationship is vital to the health of both our lands and the air we breathe.

The yearly growth rate of grasses across North America produce roughly one-third more than will naturally decompose. This excess growth reduces the amount of nutrients to the soil and prevents healthy plant growth. Bison moving and grazing across the pastures eliminate this choking cover and help to create a more vibrant and healthier ecosystem.

Bison are herd animals. In order to survive they move in together in large numbers quickly across the land. Over time the grasslands began to thrive under conditions of short periods of severe grazing, hoof action, and manuring, with a subsequent period of rest and recovery.

As the bison graze, their unique hoof structure aerates and mixes the soil, helping to bury seeds and to create small indentations in the earth to capture precious moisture.

Due to the fact that bison are undomesticated, they continue to this day to interact with the environment just as nature intended. Today’s bison still move across the land in herds with only brief stops at the watering holes, which reduces the impact of hooves along riparian areas.

Domesticated species - such as cattle - have long since lost most of that natural behavior, and will regularly stand and graze in one spot, or lounge in and around stream beds and ponds on hot days. This type of activity is not conducive to environmental regeneration.

Land managers of other livestock species who strive to reduce the negative impact on our environment have adapted some of their practices—such as rotational grazing—in an attempt to imitate the natural interaction of animals with the soil. Those practices are definitely beneficial, but will never completely replicate the natural patterns of bison.

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