Researchers at the University of East Anglia have come to the conclusion that the decline of large mammals’ population intensifies climate change. Their new find is based on a recent research concerning the influence that large and small mammals have on the dispersal of large-seeded plants.
The study presupposed the analysis of 2000 tree species and 800 animals from Brazilian rainforests, the region with the most luxurious plant and animal species at present. During the period of scientific observations, researchers have noticed that it is the large mammals that help diffuse the seeds of larger plants.
These animal species consume large seeds and deposit them in other forest places with their feces. This means, large mammals have contributed to the diffusion of large trees and fruits. Once these species of animals will become extinct, the fauna will suffer, too, being deprived of many large plants.
Unfortunately, small animals won’t supply the lack of large mammals either. These species usually consume small seeds, so they only contribute to the propagation of small trees and plants.
Scientists think the decline in large mammals’ population intensifies climate change. The percentage of plants will decrease, while carbon dioxide levels will grow significantly. Human-made activities are harmful, too, because large amounts of trees are cut each year for exotic regions to be modernized.
The most important large species are, according to the study, the tapirs and the toucans. These, along with primates, have entered the list of endangered species prompting scientists to take measures for their protection. First, they have to determine whether the ever changing environment is not causing the large mammals’ extinction, because the two seem to be related to one another. Second, they have to do everything in their power to increase their reproduction rates.
The study has further revealed that the most affected trees are the ones that have higher carbon storage abilities. Heavy-wooded trees will be the most affected if large animals will disappear, scientists have concluded.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.
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