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More big mammals found in high-carbon forests, says new study

15 / 11 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

Carbon-rich tropical forests, which are often among the least-disturbed habitats, seem to be ideal bastions for sensitive and threatened animals, particularly compared to lower-carbon areas like timber and oil palm plantations. But until recently, data-driven conclusions connecting high levels of both carbon and biodiversity have been elusive. “Scientists have been trying to link carbon with biodiversity for a number of years, but with variable success,” said Nicolas Deere, an ecologist at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, in an interview. Recent research by Deere and his colleagues revealed that high-carbon tropical forests do support more biodiversity than those with less carbon, bolstering the case for the use of carbon assessments to identifying forests important for conservation on a number of fronts. The team published their findings Nov. 6 in the Journal of Applied Ecology. A Borneo pygmy elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) in Malaysia. Photo by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. The team chose the patchwork of forests and plantations that make up the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems, or SAFE, project area in southern Sabah. Critical to demonstrating the relationship between carbon and biodiversity levels was the researchers’ use of high-resolution satellite data to pinpoint areas with the most carbon. They also used camera traps to record the number of species present in different habitats. Previous studies have often looked at coarser data sets, in which the carbon values for larger areas might represent a range of different forest qualities. In places like Sabah,…

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