Warning! Warning! Moose are on the loose! And it turns out that a big culprit causing global warming could be none other than Bullwinkle or at least his real life cousins. The Washington Post eagerly issued this warning on Saturday in a story by Erin Blakemore, “Hungry moose fingered as possible factor in climate change.”
Don’t mess with moose. They’re big, they’re strong — and now researchers say they may be contributing to climate change. Yes, research suggests that moose may factor into a dramatic reduction in the amount of carbon stored in some forests.
Wherever they feed, the large mammals trample vegetation, affect tree growth and change soil composition with copious amounts of urine and dung. That’s partly due to their voracious appetites — adult moose can eat up to 60 pounds of food per day.
Dung? Isn’t that another way of saying… fertilizer? And isn’t that a good thing?
…Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, researchers said they analyzed 11 years of data on moose in Norwegian forest areas that had been cleared for lumber. Usually, the forest rebounds, and saplings and bushes quickly grow back. But when moose are on the loose in these areas, they graze on any and all vegetation, snacking on the saplings that would eventually repopulate those areas of forest and sequester carbon.
So shouldn’t the blame be put on those that cleared the lumber in the first place rather that the moose who is just eating what is natural to them?
The moose mostly ate birch, rowan and willow trees. The researchers estimate that by eating up potential carbon sinks, the moose consume the equivalent of 10 percent of the entire Norwegian forestry industry’s annual harvest, cutting carbon storage by up to 60 percent in those areas.
are on the loose
in boreal forests they abuse
climate impacts, researchers deduce
My latest, on hungry moose rampaging their ways through delicate forests: https://t.co/joDbi5A6jS
— Erin Blakemore (@heroinebook) March 14, 2023
Stop eating, Bullwinkle! You are destroying the planet!
“It was really a surprise to see how much moose can influence vegetation growth, the carbon cycle and the climate system,” Xiangping Hu, a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and co-author of the study, said in a news release. The scientists say more research is needed to fully understand moose’s potential effects on climate.
Exit question: Which is causing more harm to the planet? The moose or the jet-setting celebrity climate activists?