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Deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest has caused the seeds of palm trees to become smaller - because large, fruit-eating birds have been driven out, researchers have found.
The disappearance of toucans and cotingas, which were once abundant in the rainforest and spread seeds through their droppings, means that palm trees have no way to distribute their bigger seeds, the Brazilian researchers said.
They believe the changes could be disastrous to the palm trees that once thrived in the forests.
In general, researchers estimate that human activity, such as deforestation, drives species to extinction about 100 times faster than natural evolutionary processes.
They collected more than 9,000 seeds from 22 different palm tree populations and found that in patches of forests deserted by large birds such as toucans and large cotingas - because of deforestation - palms produced significantly smaller seeds.
Originally posted by dainoyfb
Why the focus on the Brazilian rain forest? We've lost 50% of the worlds forests now. 40% in the last 50 years alone. Of course such a travesty could never be taking place on our home front right?