Restoring big plant-eating mammals could help fight climate change

This article discusses how restoring big plant-eating mammals could help fight climate change.

Across much of the Arctic, climate change has encouraged the growth of shrubs. With their broad leaves and crowns that poke above winter snows, the shrubs absorb more heat than grass, accelerating the region’s warming — a process that can be reversed by the browsing of reindeer.

Where else can big herbivores help keep Earth from overheating? Or, to phrase it more scientifically, “might part of the solution for mitigating anthropogenic climate change lie in the restoration of extant megafauna to ecosystems?”

So write researchers led by Joris Cromsigt, an ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and paleoecologist Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico, in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

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