“Elephant” is considered an important animal of the Thai nation. But did you know that Elephants are also important animals for the whole world.
“elephant” It is known as an animal that is important to the Thai nation as a majestic animal. It is in the pages of history, on national flags, or in children’s songs. This reflects the importance of elephants in Thai cultural society.
However, from a scientific point of view elephants are important creatures in the ecosystem. And in the middle of the world that is facing this climate change crisis. find scientists Elephants may be more important than ever. Especially elephants in Africa as “the saviors of the world”.
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Researchers from the University of St Louis in the United States report that elephants play a key role in “building a forest”, which will store more carbon in the atmosphere. and protecting the biodiversity of Africa’s forests.
Dr. Stephen Blake, a specialist in biology at Saint Louis University. research team leader He, who has spent most of his career studying elephants, argues that the ecology of large herbivores has a strong influence on the capture and storage of carbon in the African rainforest.
Within the forest, there are 2 types of trees, light trees. which is a tree with a low carbon density and the other type is a heavy tree or trees with a high carbon density
Trees with a high carbon density store more carbon from the atmosphere in the trees than trees with a low carbon density. So help fight global warming.
However, trees with low carbon density usually grow quickly. High above other plants and trees for sunlight. While high carbon density trees grow more slowly. It needs little sunlight and can grow in shade.
researchers say Elephants and other large herbivores prefer trees of low carbon density, leading to “thinning forests” that reduce competition between trees. And make more light, space and nutrients in the soil. Helps high carbon trees to grow well
“Wild elephants eat a lot of leaves from a lot of trees. and often cause great damage to food. They will take the leaves off the trees. tear off all the branches or uproot the sprouts when feeding,” says Blake.
He added, “Our data shows that Much of this damage is done to low carbon density trees, and if high carbon density trees are present around them. As a result, the elephants help remove the competitors foraging for high carbon trees.”
Elephants are also seed dispersers of dense carbon trees. These trees often produce large, nutritious fruits that elephants love to eat. These seeds pass through the elephant’s intestines undamaged. and when coming out through an achles They are ready to germinate and continue to grow.
“In the wild, elephants are like gardeners. They afforest with high carbon density trees and remove ‘weeds’, which are low carbon density trees. They work to protect forest biodiversity,” says Blake.
For this reason, elephants are directly linked to the influence of atmospheric carbon levels. By giving high carbon trees a chance to grow, reproduce and help capture more carbon.
However, the African forest elephant is currently classified as “critically endangered,” which researchers estimate that if they become extinct Rainforests in Central and West Africa The world’s second largest rainforest will lose 6 -9% of its carbon holding capacity in the atmosphere and will cause global warming.
Blake said: “Elephants have been hunted by humans for thousands of years, and as a result, African bush elephants are critically endangered. Elephant conservation is not getting enough support to stop the killing of elephants.”
He said: “Now we have a clear conclusion that If we lose wild African elephants We will cause harm to the world in terms of mitigating climate change. The importance of wild elephants in tackling the climate crisis Policy makers must take it seriously. to generate the necessary support for elephant conservation The role of wild elephants in our global environment is too important to ignore.”
Blake calls for more protection for wild elephants “The killing of elephants is illegal and the illegal trade in elephant organs continues … 10 million elephants once roamed Africa. But now there are less than 500,000… The number of elephants has fallen by more than 80% over the last 30 years.”
Blake concluded that “Now we have a choice. We will continue to hunt these animals and watch them disappear. Or we will find a way to stop this illegal activity, help elephants and save the world.”
Compiled from Saint Louis University
Image from AFP