Disappearing animals strike a blow to forest carbon

Written by: Callie

Posted on June 29, 2016

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Big animals spread the biggest seeds, which in turn grow into the biggest trees. Some seeds are spread exclusively by animals. This means that a decline in the number of large animals can cause reductions of up to 60% in the abundance of the tree species they disperse.

We rely massively on these trees to store carbon. Rainforest leaves suck in carbon dioxide from the air. The trunks, roots, and soil beneath them represent a store of up to half the world’s carbon.

Cool Earth is all about working with local people to keep trees standing and keep carbon locked in. And recent research shows it’s just as important to protect the large animals that call the rainforest home.

Given the fact that large trees contribute the most to above ground carbon stocks, protecting the animals that disperse their seeds across the tropics is vital for climate regulation.