If There Were No Monkeys

music
ambience: rainforest ambience, Capuchin monkey vocalizations

Monkeys and dung beetles – together they help disperse seeds throughout the rainforest. But what if there were no monkeys? I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. In the Amazon, monkeys eat fruit, swallow the seeds whole and when they defecate, dung beetles come along and bury the poop, seeds and all. So when it comes to regenerating and preserving the rainforest – monkeys and dung beetle can play a vital role.

“An awful lot of the Amazon has been cut and then maybe used for pasture land.”

Kevina Vulinec is Earthwatch scientist and an assistant professor at Delaware State University

“Once the minerals of the soil are used up, then it is no longer good for raising cattle or grow crops and it’s abandoned. And eventually starts to regenerate into forest again, if you start getting monkeys into that area, or some of the primary dispersers, you’ll also get the dung beetles will move into that area and between the two of these, they can actually begin to replant a forest.”

But, according to Kevina Vulinec, many of the monkeys that disperse seeds are classified as threatened or endangered.

“One of the things that we’re very concerned about, of course, is if there’s no monkeys depositing dung, there isn’t going to be any dung beetles and consequently there’s also not going to be natural forest regeneration. There’s not going to be a lot of the seed dispersal, and humans can’t really go around and take that role themselves. For one thing, we just don’t know enough about how the whole system operates, but we can’t go out and be replanting it with little seeds all on our own. So the best thing to do is to hope that the natural communities that are living in an area can do the planting themselves.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation . I’m Jim Metzner.

music

If There Were No Monkeys

How do you regenerate a rainforest? First get some monkeys; nature will take care of the rest.
Air Date:01/29/2007
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: rainforest ambience, Capuchin monkey vocalizations

Monkeys and dung beetles - together they help disperse seeds throughout the rainforest. But what if there were no monkeys? I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. In the Amazon, monkeys eat fruit, swallow the seeds whole and when they defecate, dung beetles come along and bury the poop, seeds and all. So when it comes to regenerating and preserving the rainforest - monkeys and dung beetle can play a vital role.

"An awful lot of the Amazon has been cut and then maybe used for pasture land."

Kevina Vulinec is Earthwatch scientist and an assistant professor at Delaware State University

"Once the minerals of the soil are used up, then it is no longer good for raising cattle or grow crops and it’s abandoned. And eventually starts to regenerate into forest again, if you start getting monkeys into that area, or some of the primary dispersers, you’ll also get the dung beetles will move into that area and between the two of these, they can actually begin to replant a forest."

But, according to Kevina Vulinec, many of the monkeys that disperse seeds are classified as threatened or endangered.

"One of the things that we’re very concerned about, of course, is if there’s no monkeys depositing dung, there isn’t going to be any dung beetles and consequently there’s also not going to be natural forest regeneration. There’s not going to be a lot of the seed dispersal, and humans can’t really go around and take that role themselves. For one thing, we just don’t know enough about how the whole system operates, but we can’t go out and be replanting it with little seeds all on our own. So the best thing to do is to hope that the natural communities that are living in an area can do the planting themselves."

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation . I'm Jim Metzner.

music