African forest elephants play a significant function in shaping the surroundings and composition of the Congo Basin rainforest, together with the enormous carbon-sequestering timber it’s famous for.Without them, the Congo rainforest would lose carbon shares and biodiversity, and the composition of the forest itself would change.Yet the complete ecological worth of this charismatic species — and the ecosystem impacts whether it is misplaced — should not totally understood, so elevated funding for research and conservation is required, consultants say.On this closing episode of the Mongabay Explores the Congo Basin podcast season, Andrew Davies, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, and Fiona “Boo” Maisels, a conservation scientist on the Wildlife Conservation Society, element the distinctive worth of forest elephants, what nonetheless stays unknown, and why pressing safety is required.
The African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) makes the Congo Basin rainforest what it’s immediately. As a key seed disperser, its dietary habits assist assemble the enormous carbon-sequestering tree neighborhood that this rainforest is thought for. Without them, the very composition of the forest would change, consultants say.
On this closing episode of the Congo Basin season of the Mongabay Explores Podcast, Fiona “Boo” Maisels, a conservation scientist on the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Andrew Davies, assistant professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, element the ecological advantages of this charismatic species, why they’re so essential for forest well being, and what may occur if we lose them.
Listen right here:
The full ecological worth of African forest elephants will not be totally identified, however some organizations have tried to place a greenback quantity on what that might be. While recognition of the worth of forest elephants is vital for his or her conservation, Davies says, there may be additionally intrinsic worth that may’t be quantified.
Elephants at a watering gap, Dzanga Sangha National Park, Central African Republic. Image by Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace.
“If you consider your backyard, for those who had been to lose the gardener, you’ll lose the form and the construction of that backyard, which might then have many ramifications for a lot of different species,” Davies says.
“They’re the purposeful glue that makes all the pieces click on collectively within the system,” Maisels says.
The Congo rainforest additionally comprises distinctive mineral-rich clearings roughly half a kilometer in width (greater than 1 / 4 mile) that scientists say elephants rely on for socialization and vitamins. These clearings, referred to as bais, are visited by elephants in numbers upward of 80 per day, and likewise maintain a various array of different biodiversity. The sounds of their social interplay will be heard on this episode.
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Listen to the earlier episode on this podcast collection right here:
Sounds heard throughout this episode: Soundscape recording from the Dzanga Bai forest clearing within the Dzanga Sangha Protected Area within the Central African Republic, the place elephants mixture in very massive numbers. It is probably going that there have been 80 elephants or extra on the clearing on the time of the recording, which was shared by The Elephant Listening Project on the Okay. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Banner Image: Two elephants tussle at a watering gap, Dzanga Sangha National Park, Central African Republic. Image by Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace.
Mike DiGirolamo is Mongabay’s viewers engagement affiliate. Find him on LinkedIn, Bluesky, Instagram, TikTookay and Mastodon.
See associated episode with extra recordings at bais:
Podcast: Listening to elephants to guard Central Africa’s tropical forests
Animals, Biodiversity, Carbon Sequestration, Charismatic Animals, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Ecosystems, Elephants, Endangered Species, Featured, Forest Carbon, Forest Elephants, Forests, Mammals, Megafauna, Podcast, Rainforest Ecological Services, Seed Dispersal, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Conservation Science, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Conservation