The Pleistocene project has 4 positive effects on our climate and environment

Preservation of Permafrost soils

Increase in Photosynthesis

Increased Albedo Effect

Reconstruction of Biodiversity

If we do nothing today, 3 meters of the park floors will thaw and

92.575.000

 tons of CO2 will escape! And that’s just from the area of the park.

If we do nothing today, 3 meters of the park floors will thaw and

92.575.000

 tons of CO2 will escape! And that’s just from the area of the park.

1. How do we preserve the permafrost soils?

During winter there is a thick layer of snow on the Siberian tundra, which insulates the soil. Thus there is no heat exchange between the cold Siberian air and the warm soils. Therefore, the cold cannot penetrate the permafrost soils, while at the same time heat cannot escape from the soils. That’s the problem!

During winter there is a thick layer of snow on the Siberian tundra, which insulates the soil. Thus there is no heat exchange between the cold Siberian air and the warm soils. Therefore, the cold cannot penetrate the permafrost soils, while at the same time heat cannot escape from the soils. That’s the problem!

The solution: a reintroduction of a wide variety of herbivores. When foraging in winter, the animals destroy the insulating snow layer and compact it at the same time. Cold can then better enter the soil, while stored heat can better escape. The mere presence of the animals is therefore sufficient to maintain the permafrost soils.

2) Photosynthesis

The currently predominant vegetation in the park is very inefficient and can hardly absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere. By reintroducing a wide variety of animals and optimizing the landscape using special seeds, the highly productive steppe tundra can be restored. The newly created root systems can absorb many times more CO₂ from the atmosphere. Thus, the park will also function as an efficient carbon capture and storage method in the future.

2) Photosynthesis

The currently predominant vegetation in the park is very inefficient and can hardly absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere. By reintroducing a wide variety of animals and optimizing the landscape using special seeds, the highly productive steppe tundra can be restored. The newly created root systems can absorb many times more CO₂ from the atmosphere. Thus, the park will also function as an efficient carbon capture and storage facility in the future.

3) Albedo Effect

This effect causes more incoming solar radiation to be directly reflected and not available as energy to the system. The steppe tundra is lighter in color than the current predominant vegetation, so a higher percentage of the sun’s heat is reflected. The permafrost soils are therefore less likely to be heated in summer.

3) Albedo Effect

This effect causes more incoming solar radiation to be directly reflected and not available as energy to the system. The steppe tundra is lighter in color than the current predominant vegetation, so a higher percentage of the sun’s heat is reflected. The permafrost soils are therefore less likely to be heated in summer.

4) Biodiversity

There are little life and biodiversity in the currently prevailing ecosystems. Except for the swarms of mosquitoes, there are hardly any living creatures here. By reintroducing a wide variety of animals, the region’s biodiversity can flourish anew. Endangered species will also find a new and safe home in the park.

4) Biodiversity

There are little life and biodiversity in the currently prevailing ecosystems. Except for the swarms of mosquitoes, there are hardly any living creatures here. By reintroducing a wide variety of animals, the region’s biodiversity can flourish anew. Endangered species will also find a new and safe home in the park.

Methane emissions from animals

One point of discussion is the methane emissions from animals. It is true that the animals emit a certain amount of methane each year, but the animals directly contribute to halving the total methane emissions from the landscape of the park. The animals improve the water balance of the soil through direct grazing and fewer methane escapes. The amount of CH4 emitted by the animals is very insignificant compared to the amount saved!

Research findings:

Winter grazing and movements by the animals compact snow, thereby substantially decreasing the thermal insulation efficiency of snow.

Christian BeerUniversität Hamburg

This allows much colder freezing of soil in winter, hence colder overall mean annual soil temperature.

Christian BeerUniversität Hamburg

The root structure of grasses and forbs – they both have deep, diffused roots, contrary to the shallow root systems of tundra shrubs and larch – increase soil carbon storage

Marc Macias-FauriaUniversity of Oxford

Grassland-dominated ecosystems have more reflective surfaces than shrub-dominated tundra and forest-tundra, both because of vegetation type and exposed snow cover, and thus enhanced albedo.

Paul JepsonUniversity of Oxford

The greater the diversity within and among these functional types, the more active the biological cycles and the more successful and extensive the ecosystem can become.

Sergey ZimovRussian Academy of Sciences

Where we are today

The park is managed by the Russian scientists Sergy Zimov and his son Nikita. They started the project in 1996. To learn more about them, click here.

The project is carried out on an area of 144 km². Compared to the complete permafrost area, this is still very small. But we have plans to expand this significantly!

The park is located in the Republic of Sakha in the Ulusse Nischnekolymski. The area was provided permanently and may be used for our purposes.

What has happend so far?

In 1996 the Russian government made the project area permanently available to the Zimovs.
In 1997, the first 20 km² were fenced and the first animals were settled.
In 2018, animals such as cattle and bison entered the park.
In 2019, 12 bison were brought to the park from Denmark.
By 2029, the entire area will be transformed into a highly productive steppe tundra and 3,000 animals will be settled.

We need your support to implement the project! Only together we can preserve the permafrost and prevent the release of vast amounts of greenhouse gases.

Let’s make it happen!

Together with your help, we can prevent one of the biggest climate threats.

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