Delicate balance: Hornbills and climate

Did you know that a single Hornbill can plant 14,600 trees in its lifetime? What would happen if those trees were never planted?

Thailand’s Great Hornbills could be seriously threatened by climate change. In Khao Yai and other parks, these majestic birds are also targeted by poachers.

FREELAND and local conservation groups are concerned about the impact loss of hornbills is having on forests, which play a vital role sequestering carbon and regulating the planet’s climate.

Hornbills rely on the forest’s natural cycles and growth, nesting in old or dead trees, and play an equally important role maintaining those cycles – eating fruit, then scattering fertilised seeds across great distances.

This natural seed distribution is far more efficient than our reforestation efforts.

Seed distribution is one of many natural processes and interdependencies that are disturbed when animals are removed from an ecosystem by poachers or displaced by other human disturbances, such as poorly managed tourism.

If we fail to protect hornbills and other species integral to ecosystems, the knock-on effects could precipitate the collapse of our planet’s lungs. Do we need a better reason to support forest rangers and provide alternatives to poaching?

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