Global Warming

Climate change is making it harder for plants to spread seeds via animals

The loss of biodiversity of birds and mammals from human-induced climate change has reduced the ability of plants to spread their seeds via animals, according to a new study.

Published in Science earlier this month, the study uses data from more than 400 networks of seed dispersal interactions between plants, birds and mammals to track the changes being seen by declines in animal populations due to climate change.

Half of all plant species rely on animals to disperse their seeds, either through their feces or hitching a ride on feathers, wings and fur, and seed dispersal networks lost or created in new ways to make up for biodiversity loss can influence how plants can adapt to climate change through migration, the study states.

The American and Dutch researchers estimate that mammal and bird losses have reduced the capacity of plants to adapt to climate change by 60 per cent across the globe.


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