Bison reintroduction to the eastern united states

Should we reintroduce plains bison back to the eastern united states as semi-free populations in state parks, nature preserves and maybe national parks like great smoky mountains national park?

Credit by Jack Dykinga here’s a related post

I think first we need to establish continuous habitat and restore pre-colonial fire regimes before we release bison into a system that is no longer suited for them. The southeast, at least, has lost 90% of it’s grasslands.


For my dream 176,000 acre nature preserve, it will be a restored grassland ecosystem by cutting a crap ton of trees and prescribed burns in the southeast u.s and how’s your day going?

may i make a suggestion? it’s fine if you’re going to start multiple subjects about different kinds of reintroductions, but if you’re going to always pivot back to a plug for your preserve, please just keep those all in the original topic related to the preserve: (rather than creating a bunch of new threads).


Sure that’s fine, I can link posts to my previous posts but not in a spammy way.

As I understand it, the bison in the eastern states were an extinct subspecies called Woodland Buffalo. The name suggests that they were ecologically different from Plains Buffalo.

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The Plains Bison (Bison bison bison) is the historic subspecies of the eastern U.S.

The Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae) is still extant in Canada, but with a much-reduced range. It used to be more widespread in western Canada and Alaska.

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just to clarify here, the Woodland Bison that jasonhernandez74 is talking about is different from the Wood bison that you’re talking about. as he noted, the Woodland Bison was just an ecologically separate population of Plains Bison. (genetically, they would be more or less the same subspecies.)

presumably, that would mean that you could transport some Plains Bison into wooded mountains, and they would be able to survive, but these kinds of things don’t always work as you would expect.

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is one of the most broadly applicable phrases ever written. Right up there with, “It depends.”


Ok, but to restate, the woodland bison was not a separate subspecies as originally stated. They were in fact Plains Bison. And considering the presence of bison in the east was relatively recent, thanks in large part to the burning practices of indigenous peoples, I have no reason to believe that Plains Bison wouldn’t behave similarly if that situation was replicated.

While environment (not genetics) may have influenced some habits, like the size of herds, to differ from their Plains siblings, they were still Bison bison bison – It was the Plains Buffalo that trampled ground and shaped earth under hoof

The Plains Bison, The Wood Bison, and the Bison of the Eastern Woodlands: Separating Fact from Fiction

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