Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Tucson

Recycling Nutrients: Animal Droppings Help Forests Absorb CO2

Jun 30, 2016 08:13AM

A paper published in Forest Ecosystems concludes that frugivores, large, fruit-eating animals like toucans, tapirs, curassows and spider monkeys, help to keep the woods healthy by eating fruits and spreading seeds. As traps for carbon and an effective defense against global warming, forests collectively absorb up to 30 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions and store more than 1,600 gigatons of carbon in the soil.

“You have a lot of large birds that play a fundamental role for large trees,” says study author Mauro Galetti. “They increase the likelihood that seeds will turn into actual photosynthesizing plants.” However, big, tropical birds are constantly under threat of hunting, poaching and habitat loss; the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Red List notes that 14 of the world’s 16 toucan species, for instance, are decreasing in population. The study found that without the help of high-capacity frugivores, there would be no way for larger seeds to grow into the towering trees that store carbon best.

Scientists now want to research individual species to calculate how much each animal’s services are worth in terms of battling climate change. Putting a dollar amount on a species, say Galetti, could be the only way to persuade governments to protect it.


Find the study at Tinyurl.com/ForestCarbonReport.

Join Our Email Newsletter

COMING IN PRINT: 2020 May Issue
Due Date: April 10. Be a part of our upcoming May issue.
Contact [email protected] for cheerful and efficient help with your marketing!
Missed the print deadline? Try email news!

Email News Exclusives with Social Media pushes; ask us about it today! [email protected]

Current Issue
Visit Us on Facebook
2020 Editorial Calendar

 

How to Protect Yourself and Others from Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Ways to Calm Your Anxiety with Meditation During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Biodegradable Cooler Keeps Food Cold and Dry