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Defaunation affects carbon storage in tropical forests [Science Advances]

Keywords : ecosystems, tropical ecosystems, defaunation, carbon storage, seed dispersal, conservation, biodiversity, rainforests, bushmeat, Atlantic Forest

par Frédéric Magné - publié le , mis à jour le

Carbon storage is widely acknowledged as one of the most valuable forest ecosystem services. Deforestation, logging, fragmentation, fire, and climate change have significant effects on tropical carbon stocks ; however, an elusive and yet undetected decrease in carbon storage may be due to defaunation of large seed dispersers. Many large tropical trees with sizeable contributions to carbon stock rely on large vertebrates for seed dispersal and regeneration, however many of these frugivores are threatened by hunting, illegal trade, and habitat loss. We used a large data set on tree species composition and abundance, seed, fruit, and carbon-related traits, and plant-animal interactions to estimate the loss of carbon storage capacity of tropical forests in defaunated scenarios.(...)

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