Elephants are irreplaceable seed dispersers

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  • Wild animals play specific roles in the ecosystem, but what happens when they disappear? Using a combination of field data and theoretical modelling, scientists find that no herbivore can replace Indian elephants as the optimal seed dispersers of three large forest trees in West Bengal.
  • Scientists at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Sciences and Princeton University, USA, quantified the role of Indian elephants and other herbivores (including Indian gaur, cattle, monkeys and wild squirrels) in dispersing the seeds of three tree species – the elephant apple tree (Dillenia indica), the slow match tree (Careya arborea) and chaplash, a jackfruit tree endemic to north-eastern India (Artocarpus chaplasha) – in Buxa Tiger Reserve, West Bengal.

Source:TH