Restoring degraded forests can be expensive and complicated, but Brazilian researchers may have a simple technique to add to the restoration toolbox: enlisting fruit-eating animals to spread seeds. A new study shows that many species of mammals and birds will consume seeds inserted into fruits at feeders and then excrete the seeds over wide areas. This novel proof-of-concept study highlights the importance of plant and animal interactions to restore the natural ecology of forests people have destroyed or degraded. In a once-cleared patch of rainforest, four black-tufted marmosets scamper up to a pile of bananas lying in a plastic dish on the ground. Within the banana flesh are the seeds of a local native tree, hidden there by scientists. After briefly investigating, the marmosets ( Callithrix penicillata ) dig in. When they’ve eaten their fill, they dash away, eventually to poop out their fruity snack — and with it, the precious seeds that could help restore the recovering patch of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. That is a scene caught on camera trap as part of a recent study , published in the December 2020 Journal of Applied Ecology . It describes a potential new way to fill in that gap […]


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