9 November 2016
Among its many other claims to fame, the Amazon rainforest contains more than 1,500 bird species. Around a quarter of them are found nowhere else on Earth. Many of these birds have evolved to fill a specific role – whether that means eating particular types of insects, or scattering a certain size of seed, they all play a part in one of the world’s most complex ecological networks, keeping the forest healthy and resilient. More than 90% of tropical trees and shrubs depend on animals to disperse their seeds, for example. These "biodiversity services" are crucial.