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Even more evidence that big animals help fight the climate crisis

As scientists learn more about the importance of animals to nature’s carbon-sequestering capabilities, they’ve come to understand that extinctions and extirpations are climate issues. Two new studies add powerful detail to that insight.

The first, led by ecologist Fabio Berzaghi of Italy’s University of Tuscia and published in Nature Geoscience, drew on 17 years of data on vegetation structure and species competition in northern Congo. With elephants there to trample vegetation and knock down trees and generally create openings, the resulting assemblage features more slow-growing, dense-bodied trees.