Chimpanzees in west Africa, appear to be the foundation of the current seemingly never ending rainforests

Just 2500 years ago, the never-ending forests of west Africa was made up of fragments of forest, with areas of open land between them. This fragmentation was down to a change in the environment occurring which meant that the dry season started to loosing far longer.

It seems that this changed because of seed disposal animals – including chimpanzees, which helped by leaving heavy seeds behind with a healthy dollop of fertilizer, allowing these slow growing trees to have a good start in life. Unfortunately, now as we are destroying the rainforest, there are also human hunters that are killing these seed dispersers in great numbers, making sure that the forests cannot regenerate.

Are we making sure that forests cannot recover? Not only are we destroying them, but also removing the natural gardeners that helped it return last time it was threatened. My fear is that it may become necessary for humans to replant vast areas by hand. Should it become necessary and recognized, then I am sure we would rise to the occasion, but far better to recognise it before it is too late.

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