US Forest Service

Salamanders and Climate Change

I think it’s safe to say we all got a good chuckle when researchers reported that flatulent cattle were a problem in terms of climate change.

The image of gassy cows stuck in everybody’s mind, even though the smelly number is real (the livestock industry emits about 14.5% of human-associated greenhouse gases).

But now it’s time to turn our climate change spotlight from large cows to tiny salamanders. That’s because it turns out that salamanders also play a role in the global carbon cycle — but in a good way.

Acorns Count

The acorn is not only a symbol of fall, but the nuts are a baseline indicator of the current and future health of the forest ecosystem. U.S. Forest Service researchers studying acorns find a bounty of acorns indicates healthy trees and a plentiful food supply for the creatures that form the base of the forest food chain.