STATES CHRONICLE – There are many things that are linked to global warming but who would have thought that the extinction of large mammals accelerates climate change.
Because of the climate change talks in Paris this month, global warming has become one of the most popular subjects and scientists make sure to keep us updated on everything they discover new about this problem.
For example, a team of researchers from the University of East Anglia has discovered that some mammals like the monkeys and even some birds, which are fruit-eating animals, are starting to decline in numbers. The fact that populations of animals who usually eat fruit are decreasing is actually affecting trees.
What do this fruit-lover animals have to do with tree degradation? These animals represent the main ‘help’ for seed dispersal. Many of them eat the fruit and spit out the seeds in other parts of the forest. In this way they allow other trees to grow. Unfortunately this ‘service’ is slowly becoming no longer available as more and more animals are disappearing.
Most of them are threatened by illegal hunting and trade. You may wonder how exactly this is connected to climate change. Of course, the fact that animals become extinct is bad, but what does it have to do with the climate? Well, it is chain-like process. Humans hunt down animals which eventually become extinct. Because of this, there is no one left to eat the fruits from the trees. If the fruits don’t get eaten, then the seeds don’t get spread which means no other trees will grow. In time, the existing trees will no longer be able to capture the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and give us oxygen in exchange. So there will be more of this unhealthy gas in the air which obviously leads to global warming.
The large fruit-eating animals that can already be found on the endangered species list are monkeys, tapirs and toucans. Although there are other animals which eat fruit, they are smaller and also eat the seeds so they don’ exactly help in their dispersal. The forest which is in most danger is the Amazon rainforest were scientists have studied over 2000 tree species and over 800 animal species.
Image source: www.passaros.com