WWF withdraws controversial bison study

Forskning & Framsteg was able to show that the news about the bison’s miraculous effect on the climate was false.


Forskning & Framsteg was able to reveal that the figures referred to by the researchers in The Guardian were improbable.

The news about the European bison’s miraculous impact on the climate was false. The British newspaper The Guardian reported that a herd of 170 bison in Romania helps to sequester as much carbon in the soil as the annual emissions from 1.88 million gasoline-powered cars. The calculation is based on a report funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the Netherlands.

And now, the WWF in the Netherlands is distancing itself from its own report. In an email to F&F, the organization’s press officer, Nadine Kooijman, writes: ”I am terribly sorry for I need to let you know that the news about the bison project has been withdrawn for now due to calculations that are incorrect. If it is possible to cancel publication of the article it would be great. Our apologies for any inconveniences and do not hesitate to contact us for questions we will gladly update you with new data when possible.”

During a phone call, she has no answers to the question of why the World Wildlife Fund in the Netherlands distributed sensational results to the world press without first submitting them to a scientific journal for the usual scrutiny, known as peer review. She admits that such a review could have stopped the spread of incorrect results.

”We are very sorry for what happened,” says Nadine Kooijman. ”The thing that we need to do now is to go through all the data step by step to find out how this could happen, and what we should do to prevent it from happening again.”

Since the incorrect calculations have become evident the article in The Guardian has been edited.

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