In a once-cleared patch of rainforest, four black-tufted marmosets scamper up to a pile of bananas lying in a plastic dish on the ground. Within the banana flesh are the seeds of a local native tree, hidden there by scientists. After briefly investigating, the marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) dig in. When they’ve eaten their fill, they dash away, eventually to poop out their fruity snack — and with it, the precious seeds that could help restore the recovering patch of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. That is a scene caught on camera trap as part of a recent study, published in the December 2020 Journal of Applied Ecology. It describes a potential new way to fill in that gap in the forest: enlisting fruit-eating birds and animals, called frugivores, to spread native seeds. A group of black-tufted marmosets (Callithrix penicillata) eating bananas embedded with native tree seeds at a suspended feeder, in camera-trap footage. Image courtesy of Wesley Silva. One of the most common ways to restore a forest is through directly planting seedlings or sowing seeds into the ground. These methods are quite expensive, which is a big obstacle for many restoration projects. The new method aims to help. It “is very simple, very inexpensive, and quite effective,” said Cristina García, a plant ecologist at the University of Liverpool, U.K., and an editor of the journal that published the study. “Instead of planting the trees, what you do is restore the ecological process that drives that natural regeneration,” which often works better…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer