“Helping elephants equals saving the world” Elephants’ way of life can mitigate global warming.
The elephant is known as an important animal of the Thai nation as a majestic animal. It’s in the pages of history, on national flags, or in nursery rhymes. This reflects the importance of elephants in Thai cultural society.
However , from a scientific standpoint elephants are important creatures in the ecosystem. And in the midst of the world facing this crisis of climate change. Scientists find elephants may be more important than ever. Especially the elephants in Africa, “the savior of the world.”
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Researchers at Saint Louis University in the US report that elephants play an important role in “building forests” , thus storing more carbon in the atmosphere. Preserving the biodiversity of Africa’s forests.
Dr. Stephen Blake, an expert biologist at Saint Louis University. Research team leader Hu, who has spent most of his career studying elephants, argues that the large herbivory environment has a strong influence on carbon sequestration in African rainforests.
Within the forest, there are two types of trees, which are light trees. It 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 higher carbon density store more carbon from the atmosphere in the wood than trees with a lower carbon density. Thus helping to combat global warming.
However, trees with a low carbon density usually grow quickly. Elevated above other plants and trees for sunlight. While high carbon density trees grow slowly. It requires little sunlight and can grow in shade.
Researchers say elephants and other large herbivores prefer trees that are low in carbon density, resulting in “forest thinning” that reduces competition between trees. and impart more light, space and nutrients to the soil. Helps high carbon trees grow well
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“ Wild elephants eat a lot of leaves from trees. They often do great harm when feeding them. They will strip leaves from trees. They tear off all branches or pluck shoots when feeding,” Blake said.
He added, “Our data shows that a lot of that damage is done to low-carbon trees, which if high-carbon trees are around. As a result, elephants help eliminate competitors that forage from 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 intact. And when out through the compost they are ready to germinate and continue to grow.
“In the wild, elephants are like gardeners. They plant high-carbon-intensive trees and eliminate ‘grass,’ which are low-carbon trees. They work to conserve forest biodiversity,” Blake said.
For this reason, elephants are directly related to the influence of carbon levels in the atmosphere. By giving high carbon trees the opportunity to grow and reproduce and help capture more carbon.
However, the African forest elephant is currently classified as “critically endangered,” which researchers estimate if the rainforests of Central and West Africa become extinct the world’s second largest rainforest will lose between 6-9% of its capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon. It will cause global warming.
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“Humans have hunted elephants for thousands of years, and as a result, African bush elephants are endangered,” Blake said. “Elephant conservation does not have enough support to stop the killing of elephants.”
He said: “Now we have a clear conclusion if we lose African wild elephants we will harm the world in mitigating the effects of climate change. The importance of wild elephants in addressing the climate crisis needs to be taken seriously by policy makers. To generate the necessary support for elephant conservation the role of wild elephants In our global environment it is very important and cannot be ignored.”
Blake calls for greater protection of wild elephants “The illegal slaughter of elephants and the illegal trade in elephant organs continues… 10 million elephants once roamed Africa. But now there are fewer than 500,000… The elephant population has declined by over 80% in the past the past thirty years.”
Blake concluded that “Now we have a choice. We will continue to hunt these animals and watch them become extinct. Or we will find a way to stop this illegal activity, help the elephants and save the world.”