Animals are key to restoring the world’s forests | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

As UN climate talks close in Egypt and biodiversity talks begin in Montreal, attention is on forest restoration as a solution to the twin evils roiling our planet. Forests soak up atmospheric carbon dioxide and simultaneously create habitat for organisms. So far, efforts to help forests bounce back from deforestation have typically focused on increasing one thing—trees—over anything else. But a new report uncovers a powerful, yet largely overlooked, driver of forest recovery: animals. The study by an international team from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Yale School of the Environment, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute examined a series of regenerating forests in central Panama spanning 20 to 100 years post-abandonment. The unique long-term data set revealed that animals, by carrying a wide variety of seeds into deforested areas, are key to the recovery of tree species richness and abundance to old-growth levels after only 40 to 70 years of regrowth. Source: Animals are key to restoring the world’s forests | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft