Researchers in Norway labeled the country’s moose population a leading cause of climate change this month; urging the government “balance” the population to reduce carbon emissions.
From Fox News:
Researchers claim that moose are potentially a leading cause of climate change and that the species should be balanced, suggesting they are “one of the biggest potential single sources of carbon emissions from wooded parts of Norway.”
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology studied moose in Norwegian forests for several years and concluded that the species have a major effect on vegetation growth and are altering the carbon cycle by dining on tree buds. “Moose are an ecosystem engineer in the forest ecosystem, and strongly impact everything from the species composition and nutrient availability in the forest. A grown animal can eat 50 kilograms of biomass each day during summer,” Gunnar Austrheim, an ecologist at the NTNU University Museum, said in a press release.
Moose tend to eat birch and young samplings in clearcut forests, an act researchers claim is where the ungulates “gobble up” possible carbon storage in trees.
“It was really a surprise to see how much moose can influence vegetation growth, the carbon cycle and the climate system,” said Xiangping Hu, a researcher at NTNU’s Industrial Ecology (IndEcol), said in the release.