A healthy forest requires large herbivores

Fewer trees, but more diverse and healthier trees: these are the consequences of the presence of large herbivores in forests around the world. If we want healthy forests, we need to restore them!

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[EN VIDÉO] Wildlife and Forest Alliance

It is now proven that the presence of large herbivores is essential to good forest health. Lund University, Sweden, conducted a global study on the influence of large herbivorous mammals on forest vegetation. Deer, bison or even elephants, large herbivores are animals that weigh at least 45 kilograms.

The health of a forest depends on the diversity of species, not on the number of trees

Contrary to popular belief, the densest forests are not necessarily the ones in the best condition: the health of the forest is mainly determined by the heterogeneity of the plant species present. Large herbivores reduce the number of trees in the forest by selecting their diet, but they increase species diversity. And this has extremely beneficial consequences: more airy and diverse forests are less prone to fires.

According to the study, “ this aspect of forest management has been neglected so far”, although it is an essential activity of nature. In addition, healthy trees store more carbon dioxide, thus limiting global warming. ” Mitigation of global warming must therefore include forest conservation and restoration through restoration. the authors conclude.

Darell Goodwin

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