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Friday, May 11, 2012

Rhinoceros' & Elephants' Seed-Eating Habit Helps Biodiversity

Habitat loss, poaching, and the conflict
between elephant and man has caused a
95 percent loss in Asian elephant (Elephas
maximus) historical distribution range.

CREDIT: Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz

Rhinoceros' & Elephants' Seed-Eating Habit Helps Biodiversity - LiveScience

Elephants and rhinoceroses are essential to keeping biodiversity levels high, new research suggests.

In areas where these large seed-dispersing animals have disappeared, like the tropical forest of South-East Asia, researchers found that biodiversity dropped off. Other herbivores like the small pig-looking tapir can't replace these large grazers.

"Megaherbivores act as the 'gardeners' of humid tropical forests: They are vital to forest regeneration and maintain its structure and biodiversity," study researcher Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, of the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, said in a statement.

The research was detailed in the March 2012 issue of the journal Biotropica.

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