Rainforest regeneration spurs species comeback

Rainforest devastation is leading to the extinction of numerous tropical species. However, the regeneration of secondary forests urges species to make a comeback, promising new research has found.

The loss of rainforests is fueling the extinction of tropical species. However, not all is doom and gloom, according to a new study conducted in the Brazilian Amazon.

Ecological cataclysms prompted by the fragmentation of the forest can be reverted by the regeneration of secondary forests, offering hope for tropical forest biodiversity.

The international team of researchers found that species strongly associated with primary forest were heavily depleted 15 years after the man-made isolation of forest fragments.

However, 30 years later and with the regeneration of secondary regrowth, many of the species that had abandoned the area had made a comeback.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports, measured the impact of forest fragmentation on 50 species of bat.

Bats comprise around one fifth of all mammal species worldwide and the Amazon is the epicentre of their diversity.

The recovery observed was mostly due to the recolonization of previously deforested areas and forest fragments by old-growth specialist bats, according to a statement.

“This recolonization is likely attributable to an increased diversity and abundance of food resources in areas now occupied by secondary forest, fulfilling the energetic requirements of a larger set of species,” explained study lead author Dr Ricardo Rocha.

He added that habitat restoration could ameliorate some of the harm inflicted by humans on tropical wildlife.

Photo credit: Rafael Alvarez/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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