Articles | Volume 18, issue 3
Research article
10 Feb 2021
Research article |  | 10 Feb 2021

Methane efflux from an American bison herd

Paul C. Stoy, Adam A. Cook, John E. Dore, Natascha Kljun, William Kleindl, E. N. Jack Brookshire, and Tobias Gerken

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Cited articles

Allred, B. W., Fuhlendorf, S. D., and Hamilton, R. G.: The role of herbivores in Great Plains conservation: comparative ecology of bison and cattle, Ecosphere 2, 1–17, 2011. 
Andreas, E. L., Jordan, R. E., Guest, P. S., Persson, O. G., Grachev, A. A., and Fairall, C. W.: Roughness lengths over snow, 18th Conference on Hydrology of the American Meteorological Society, Seattle, WA, 11–15 January, 2004. 
ASAE D321.2 MAR1985 (R2015) Dimensions of Livestock and Poultry, available at: (last access: 20 February 2020), 2015. 
Baldocchi, D. D., Detto, M., Sonnentag, O., Verfaillie, J., Teh, Y. A., Silver, W., and Kelley, N. M.: The challenges of measuring methane fluxes and concentrations over a peatland pasture, Agr. Forest Meteorol. 153, 177–187, 2012. 
Baum, K. A., Ham, J. M., Brunsell, N. A., and Coyne, P. I.: Surface boundary layer of cattle feedlots: Implications for air emissions measurement. Agr. Forest. Meteorol. 148, 1882–1893, 2008. 
Short summary
The reintroduction of American bison creates multiple environmental benefits. Ruminants like bison also emit methane – a potent greenhouse gas – to the atmosphere, which has not been measured to date in a field setting. We measured methane efflux from an American bison herd during winter using eddy covariance. Automated cameras were used to approximate their location to calculate per-animal flux. From the measurements, bison do not emit more methane than the cattle they often replace.
Final-revised paper