Rain Forest in Costa Rica

It seems that more and more species are threatened by extinction, and this doesn’t apply only to animals. A recent analysis conducted the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew together with the Natural History Museum, London and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) concluded that 22% of all the plants in the world are threatened by extinction. Why is this ?

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Director, Professor Stephen Hopper, says: “This study confirms what we already suspected, that plants are under threat and the main cause is human induced habitat loss.

Well, the same old story. Man expands into habitat, man destroys habitat.

“For the first time we have a clear global picture of extinction risk to the world’s known plants. This report shows the most urgent threats and the most threatened regions. In order to answer crucial questions like how fast are we losing species and why, and what we can do about it, we need to establish a baseline so that we have something against which to measure change. The Sampled Red List Index for Plants does exactly that by assessing a large sample of plant species that are collectively representative of all the world’s plants.”

“We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear — plants are the basis of all life on earth, providing clean air, water, food and fuel. All animal and bird life depends on them and so do we. Having the tools and knowledge to turn around loss of biodiversity is now more important than ever and the Sampled Red List Index for Plants gives conservationists and scientists one such tool.”

This cannot be underlined enough. Plants are on the base of every food chain, so practically all the animals and humans depend more or less direct on plants which makes this way more dangerous than it seems at a first glance.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman says, “This report comes at an important time in the lead up to the major international biodiversity meeting in Nagoya next month. It is deeply troubling that a fifth of the world’s plants are facing extinction because of human activity. Plant life is vital to our very existence, providing us with food, water, medicines, and the ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change.


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The most important things the study revealed can be summed up as follows:

– there are too many things we don’t know about plants. About a third of all plants are insufficient known, so it’s impossible to estimate how threatened they are;

– it’s estimated that over a fifth (22%) of all plants are threatened by extinction;

– plants are just as threatened as animals, if not more;

– gymnosperms (the group of plants that includes conifers) are the most threatened;

– the most threatened habitat is the rain forest;

– the most damaging process is habitat reduction.