Where the Buffalo Roam

Published April 30, 2019

At the time that the Europeans arrived here, there were maybe 100 million Buffalo lumbering about. American Bison, to be more precise. With no natural predator, these animals dominated the Great Plains. The only check on their number was the carrying capacity of the region. During times of plenty in terms of grass, the number of Buffalo expanded. During times when drought or pestilence restrained the growth of grass, their number diminished. Digesting grass requires a lot processing. Buffalo, like other bovines, do this with the help of a massive digestive system. The grass is broken down with the aid of microbes in parts of the Buffalo’s large and complex stomach. In this process, methane gas is created. This gas is released by the Buffalo via farts.

Today, we no longer have 100 million Buffalo. Instead, we have roughly that number of cows. The cows were brought here by the Europeans, being a domesticated bovine of manageable size and temperament. The Great Plains have been broken up into so many farms, and are mostly used to grow crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. Instead of roaming the Great Plains as did the Buffalo, the cows are mostly kept in dairy farms and other fenced-in places. Some are kept in herds that graze in vast ranches located on the east slopes of the Rockies, or else on multi-use public lands under lease agreements with the federal government, until brought to feedlots. Cows fart, of course. Those who think the Earth is in some kind of cosmic balance should be glad of that since the cows farts are replacing the Buffalo farts in the methane-cycle.

One thing that isn’t being maintained is the production of methane by swamps; or, as they are now called, wetlands. Swamps are places where dead organic material is broken down by microbes, as happens within the stomachs of bovines. Whether rotting animal or vegetable matter, or even wood (via the microbes within termites). Wetlands account for four times the emission of methane as do cows.

When the Europeans arrived, some 200 million acres of the country were wetlands. Today, because of reclamation projects, we have about half that amount of wetlands.  Some swamps have disappeared entirely. Black Swamp, originally the size of Connecticut, in northwestern Ohio, is an example of a swamp that is completely gone. Other swamps have been greatly reduced in size, and even turned into manicured park lands free of rotting organic material, such as Dismal Swamp in Virginia.

Some people might think that methane is bad, and so draining swamps is good. They don’t realize that, according to Green ideology, methane from swamps is good because humans don’t like swamps; and, methane from cows is bad because humans love hamburgers.

The process of breaking organic material down occurs all the time in nature. Not only in the stomach

Since then, the Buffalo have mostly been relegated to animal preserves and five cent pieces struck between 1913 and 1938. by domesticated European Bovines