Tim Radford explains how species diversity and forest management can help to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere.
“The ability of forests to absorb carbon is strongly affected by the mix of trees and the other creatures that inhabit them.
Here is how to conserve a forest: soak up carbon from the atmosphere and keep the climate cool: make sure your forest is rich in animal and bird species; make sure that it remains a natural mix of saplings, mature trees, shrubs and creepers; and remember to take care of the forest giants. In other words, leave it to Nature.
Anand Osuri of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India and colleagues from 14 other institutions report in Nature Communications that large animals play a key role in conserving tropical forests and mitigating climate change – because these are the creatures that spread the seeds of the largest trees that store the most carbon.
The new study confirms that the tree species dispersed by large animals differed from those dispersed by smaller animals, or by wind and gravity.
“There is growing recognition that the loss of animals from ecological communities, known as defaunation, poses a threat to carbon storage in tropical forests, but much of this understanding is derived from patterns seen in South American forests alone,” said Mahesh Sankaran of the faculty of biological sciences at the University of Leeds, UK, one of the co-authors…”
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This article was produced by the Climate News Network.