科学美国人(翻译):貘的粑粑能帮助森林重建 2020.05.06

cathy0301 2020-05-08 857 阅读
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The Amazon rain forest is under threat. Fragmentation, fires and climate change are just a few of the hazards. In natural, intact forests, animals that eat fruits help to keep the forest in a constant state of regeneration since they deposit seeds in their droppings as they travel. Could the same process help restore areas degraded by fire?

亚马逊雨林正受到威胁。碎片化、火灾和气候变化只是危害的一小部分。在自然、完整的森林中,吃水果的动物帮助保持森林的不断重生,因为它们在旅行时把种子储存在粪便中。同样,这能够帮助恢复被火灾破坏的地区吗?

“There are a lot of tapirs walking around the study area. And they, of course, poop a lot, because they are huge herbivores.”

“有很多貘在研究区域走动。当然会拉屎,因为它们是大型食草动物。”

Lucas Paolucci from Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute.

巴西亚马逊环境研究所的卢卡斯·保卢奇说道。

“So our team asked whether they could be walking around and eventually helping to reforest this area through their poops and, of course, the seeds that are within it.”

“所以我们的团队询问这些动物是否可以四处走动,最终通过它们的粪便,当然还有里面的种子,帮助这片区域重新造林。”

Tapirs are the largest terrestrial mammals left in the Amazon rain forest. Imagine a 500-pound pig but with a small elephant trunk on its face—that’s sort of what a lowland tapir looks like. The species is threatened with extinction, but certain areas still have quite a few tapirs roaming around.

貘是亚马逊雨林中现存的最大的陆地哺乳动物。想象一只500磅重的猪,但它的脸上却长着一只小象鼻子——这就是低地貘的样子。这个物种正面临灭绝,但某些地区仍然有不少貘在四处游荡。

Using a combination of camera traps, aerial imagery and field observations, the researchers measured the density and abundance of tapir droppings in three different parts of the rain forest over the course of seven years. One test plot was experimentally burned each year, one was burned every three years, and one was left completely intact.

研究人员使用相机陷阱、航空图像和实地观察相结合的方法,在七年的时间里测量了热带雨林三个不同地区貘粪便的密度和丰度。每年都要烧掉一块试验田,每三年烧掉一块,还有一块完好无损。

“We saw that tapirs were occurring two times more often in disturbed areas than the unburned plots and also dispersing three times more seeds.”

“我们发现,在受干扰的地区,貘的出现频率是未被烧毁地区的两倍,它们还会传播三倍多的种子。”

That’s a lot of seeds. Extrapolating from the data, in intact forests, a single tapir deposits almost 3.000 seeds in a single hectare, or 10.000 square meters. But in burned areas, the animals drop nearly 10.000 seeds. And while researchers don’t know how many seeds can germinate after a trip through a tapir’s digestive system, fewer than one percent of such seeds appeared damaged.

有很多种子。根据这些数据推断,在完整的森林中,一只貘在一公顷的土地上储存了近3000颗种子。但在被烧毁的地区,这些动物会掉下近1万颗种子。虽然研究人员不知道有多少种子在经过貘的消化系统之后能够发芽,但只有不到1%的种子出现了损伤。

But tapirs are just part of the equation. After they do a number two, dung beetles get to work forming the scat into balls before burying them, seeds included. Paolucci is now looking at whether dung beetles, like the tapir dung, are also more abundant in recently burned areas.

但貘只是等式的一部分。做完第二道工序后,蜣螂会先把粪球揉成球状,然后再把种子埋起来。保卢奇现在正在研究金龟子是否像貘的粪便一样,在最近被烧毁的地区也大量存在。

Putting tapirs to work doing what they already do best is perhaps the cheapest method for large-scale tropical forest restoration. Such renewal is critical for carbon sequestration, biodiversity preservation, and much more. Tapirs alone won’t do the job alone; their work would help lower the price tag.

让貘做它们最擅长的工作,也许是恢复大规模热带森林最便宜的方法。这样的重生对于碳封存、生物多样性保护以及其他很多方面都是至关重要的。光有貘是做不到这一点的;但它们的工作有助于降低代价。


The Amazon rain forest is under threat. Fragmentation, fires and climate change are just a few of the hazards. In natural, intact forests, animals that eat fruits help to keep the forest in a constant state of regeneration since they deposit seeds in their droppings as they travel. Could the same process help restore areas degraded by fire?

亚马逊雨林正受到威胁。碎片化、火灾和气候变化只是危害的一小部分。在自然、完整的森林中,吃水果的动物帮助保持森林的不断重生,因为它们在旅行时把种子储存在粪便中。同样,这能够帮助恢复被火灾破坏的地区吗?

“There are a lot of tapirs walking around the study area. And they, of course, poop a lot, because they are huge herbivores.”

“有很多貘在研究区域走动。当然会拉屎,因为它们是大型食草动物。”

Lucas Paolucci from Brazil’s Amazon Environmental Research Institute.

巴西亚马逊环境研究所的卢卡斯·保卢奇说道。

“So our team asked whether they could be walking around and eventually helping to reforest this area through their poops and, of course, the seeds that are within it.”

“所以我们的团队询问这些动物是否可以四处走动,最终通过它们的粪便,当然还有里面的种子,帮助这片区域重新造林。”

Tapirs are the largest terrestrial mammals left in the Amazon rain forest. Imagine a 500-pound pig but with a small elephant trunk on its face—that’s sort of what a lowland tapir looks like. The species is threatened with extinction, but certain areas still have quite a few tapirs roaming around.

貘是亚马逊雨林中现存的最大的陆地哺乳动物。想象一只500磅重的猪,但它的脸上却长着一只小象鼻子——这就是低地貘的样子。这个物种正面临灭绝,但某些地区仍然有不少貘在四处游荡。

Using a combination of camera traps, aerial imagery and field observations, the researchers measured the density and abundance of tapir droppings in three different parts of the rain forest over the course of seven years. One test plot was experimentally burned each year, one was burned every three years, and one was left completely intact.

研究人员使用相机陷阱、航空图像和实地观察相结合的方法,在七年的时间里测量了热带雨林三个不同地区貘粪便的密度和丰度。每年都要烧掉一块试验田,每三年烧掉一块,还有一块完好无损。

“We saw that tapirs were occurring two times more often in disturbed areas than the unburned plots and also dispersing three times more seeds.”

“我们发现,在受干扰的地区,貘的出现频率是未被烧毁地区的两倍,它们还会传播三倍多的种子。”

That’s a lot of seeds. Extrapolating from the data, in intact forests, a single tapir deposits almost 3.000 seeds in a single hectare, or 10.000 square meters. But in burned areas, the animals drop nearly 10.000 seeds. And while researchers don’t know how many seeds can germinate after a trip through a tapir’s digestive system, fewer than one percent of such seeds appeared damaged.

有很多种子。根据这些数据推断,在完整的森林中,一只貘在一公顷的土地上储存了近3000颗种子。但在被烧毁的地区,这些动物会掉下近1万颗种子。虽然研究人员不知道有多少种子在经过貘的消化系统之后能够发芽,但只有不到1%的种子出现了损伤。

But tapirs are just part of the equation. After they do a number two, dung beetles get to work forming the scat into balls before burying them, seeds included. Paolucci is now looking at whether dung beetles, like the tapir dung, are also more abundant in recently burned areas.

但貘只是等式的一部分。做完第二道工序后,蜣螂会先把粪球揉成球状,然后再把种子埋起来。保卢奇现在正在研究金龟子是否像貘的粪便一样,在最近被烧毁的地区也大量存在。

Putting tapirs to work doing what they already do best is perhaps the cheapest method for large-scale tropical forest restoration. Such renewal is critical for carbon sequestration, biodiversity preservation, and much more. Tapirs alone won’t do the job alone; their work would help lower the price tag.

让貘做它们最擅长的工作,也许是恢复大规模热带森林最便宜的方法。这样的重生对于碳封存、生物多样性保护以及其他很多方面都是至关重要的。光有貘是做不到这一点的;但它们的工作有助于降低代价。


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