Environmental Benefits of Elephant Populations

    Elephants can be beneficial to their environments because they are a keystone species meaning that their presence in a habitat is very important for the survival of other species as well. Elephants alter the environment to benefit other species in many ways. They eat plants, which prunes them and promotes the growth of other plant species as well because they are able to receive sunlight that was previously blocked (Field Trip Earth). They also distributes seeds in the 200 pounds of fecal matter that they produce everyday (Animal Life Resource 2008). This distribution of seeds provides for the survival of vegetation as well as providing a source of plant foods for other heterotrophs (Field Trip Earth). Finally, the paths that they create through seasonal migration provide routes that other animals can also use. These paths also create firebreaks which can stop a fire from spreading by providing an area that lacks vegetation which would otherwise act as fuel for the fire (MacKenzie 2001). As elephants suffer habitat loss from desertification, we may see that their disappearance has a positive feedback effect, as these fires will no longer be prevented. Elephants are obviously very critical for the overall biome and its biodiversity. This makes the conservation of elephants and even more vital issue.