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New study shows over one-fifth of the world's plants are under threat of extinction

now if they are endangered or not

  • Of almost 4,000 species that have been carefully assessed, over one fifth (22%) are classed as Threatened

  • Plants are more threatened than birds, as threatened as mammals and less threatened than amphibians or corals

  • Gymnosperms (the plant group including conifers and cycads) are the most threatened group

  • The most threatened habitat is tropical rain forest.

  • Most threatened plant species are found in the tropics

  • The most threatening process is man-induced habitat loss, mostly the conversion of natural habitats for agriculture or livestock use

    The Sampled Red List Index for Plants is part of a worldwide effort to create a tool to monitor the changing status of the world's major groups of plants, fungi and animals. In the future, the project will involve reassessments at regular intervals which will chart the changing fortunes of the world's plants; much like a stock market index shows the ups and downs in the value of shares. This will highlight where and what conservation action is needed to protect plants. However, funding is needed in order to continue this important work.

    7,000 plant species drawn from the five major groups of plants were included in the study: Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), pteridophytes (these are land plants, such as ferns, that produce neither flowers nor seeds and reproduce via spores), gymnosperms (such as conifers and cycads), monocotyledons (one of the major groups of flowering plants including orchids and the economically important grass and palm families) and legumes (the pea and bean family), as representative of the other flowering plants. Both common and rare species were assessed in order to give an accurate picture of how plants are faring around the world.

    As the task of assessing the threat to the world's plants (perhaps as many as 380,000 species) would present a much larger challeng

  • Contact: Bronwyn Friedlander
    Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

    Page: 1 2 3 4

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