Tree Frog Forestry News

Elephants help forests store more carbon by destroying smaller plants

By Sam Wong
The New Scientist
July 15, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Elephants do a lot of damage to plants as they stomp around the jungle, but, counterintuitively, this activity increases the biomass of the forest, letting it store more carbon. If elephants were to go extinct, the amount of carbon stored in central African rainforests could ultimately fall by 7 per cent, according to a new analysis. …Fabio Berzaghi at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in Gif-sur-Yvette, France… built a model of plant diversity and simulated the impact of elephants by increasing the mortality of smaller plants. …The model showed that elephants reduce the density of stems in the forest, but increase the average tree diameter and the total biomass. …These effects may also account for the differences between African and Amazonian rainforest. 

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