Pleistocene Park: Resurrecting a Past Ecosystem; A Novel Ecosystem Case Study
Camas Eriksson, Julianna Currie, Riley Scott, and Shane Morrissey
Keywords. Siberia; Yakutia; Pleistocene; North-East Scientific Station, Russia; mammoth-steppe; grassland ecosystems; rewilding; permafrost thaw; climate change mitigation; carbon sequestration
Summary. In Northern Siberia, near the small town of Chersky, an experimental project called ‘Pleistocene Park’ is attempting to recreate the mammoth-steppe ecosystem. By rewilding the Siberian tundra with surviving mammals of the prehistoric ecosystem, leading ecologists Sergey Zimov and his son Nikita Zimov are attempting to resurrect the steppe ecosystem of the Pleistocene era. Their goal is “to determine more precisely the role that Pleistocene animals played in maintaining their own ecosystem” and to “develop means for mitigating both the progress and effects of global warming” by restoring such landscapes (Zimov, 2005). Central to their theory is the idea that humans, not climate change, caused the mass megafauna extinctions of the Pleistocene era and by reintroducing species such as horses, moose, musk ox, bison and reindeers (so far no mammoths), the Zimovs hope to resurrect this lost landscape.
Acknowledgements. We would like to thank Sergey Zimov, Nikita Zimov, and their family as well as all those who have participated, and are participating, in the Pleistocene Park project. A special thanks to Dr. Eric Higgs and our classmates who helped us through this process. And finally, a cheer of encouragement to those Japanese and Russian scientists who are working very hard to bring back an actual mammoth, perhaps there will be a home for it in the event they actually succeed.