From: Laura Briggs, The Ecologist, The Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published January 16, 2017 08:32 AM

Scientists highlight the critical role of birds in forest regeneration

The loss of birds could significantly impact efforts to combat deforestation, according to research from scientists looking at species across the Brazilian Amazon. 

Study results, published in the Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences show that the understanding of animals and their physical traits is vital to saving tropical ecosystems.

According to the research, understanding land-use change is important because tropical forests are integral to the long-term stability of global air quality and climate cycles. The health of tropical forests is reliant on biodiversity - and is helped by animals spreading seeds to regenerate growth. In fact it is thought 90% of tropical tree and shrub species rely on animals for seed dispersal.

Lead author of the study Dr Tom Bregman of Oxford University and the Global Canopy Programme, says: "We provide compelling evidence that the loss of tropical bird species following land use change will disrupt both seed dispersal and rates of insect herbivory, both regulated by birds. This has important implications for the ability of tropical forests to recover from human activities including deforestation."

Read more at The Ecologist

White-tailed Cotinga: Image by Alexander Lees

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