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Climate change: how elephants help pump planet-warming carbon underground

By Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen, Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford Ecosystems Lab, University of Oxford
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Imagine you’re in a hot air balloon flying over an African savanna in the late growing season. Below, herds of elephants, zebras, wildebeests and rhinos roam a mosaic landscape dotted with lonesome trees and daubs of woodland on a canvas of yellow-brown grass. The hungry and rowdy herbivores are eating and trampling the vegetation that stores carbon and keeps it from heating the atmosphere.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that their voracious appetites and blundering steps might be disturbing and releasing the carbon stored in this ecosystem in much the same way wildfires do. But, incredibly,…The Conversation

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