New research shows that deforestation imposes crisis in amount of available food for freshwater fish, resulting reduction in their size and consequently their population.
The team of scientists from Canada and the UK found that where there was less forest cover or even no trees, the fish were undersized as well as with health problems.
The study also indicated that the condition also influenced the number of young fish that went on to reach adulthood.
Deforestation, by reducing the amount of leaf litter falling into rivers and lakes, threatens watershed protection, according to the findings published in Nature Communications.
“We found fish that had almost 70% of their biomass made from carbon that came from trees and leaves instead of aquatic food chain sources,” said lead author Andrew Tanentzap from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences.
“While plankton raised on algal carbon is more nutritious, organic carbon from trees washed into lakes is a hugely important food source for freshwater fish, bolstering their diet to ensure good size and strength,” he also noted.
The results have been achieved by analyzing young fish caught from eight locations with varying levels of tree cover around Daisy Lake, Canada.
The data revealed that the more forest cover around the edge the lake, the fish in that area were larger than young fish found in area with little or no forest cover.
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