One-fifth of world’s plants at risk of extinction: study | The Japan Times

The survey by Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London, said 21 percent of species are under threat. The report, the first of its kind, is intended to become a global reference point for the study of plants.

The study, which estimates there are a total of 390,900 plants known to science, found farming to be the biggest extinction threat, representing 31 percent of the total risk to plants. Logging and the gathering of plants followed at 21.3 percent, with construction work attributing for 12.8 percent of the risk. The threat of climate change and severe weather was estimated at making up 3.96 percent, although scientists said it may be too early to measure the long-term effects.

Other threats came from invasive species, dam-building and fires.  Source: One-fifth of world’s plants at risk of extinction: study | The Japan Times


Closed-canopy forest.

GR:  We tend to focus on animals.  However, plants are the primary producers upon which all animals, including humans, depend.  This study gives us an extremely valuable starting point for evaluating the status of plants.  I suspect that further analysis will show that there are more plant species at risk than the 21% indicated here.  I think this is because the effects of climate change are not yet fully understood by many scientists.  For instance, several recent studies (here’s an example) found that most forest trees will disappear this century.  With them will go many of the understory plants and, of course, the animals.


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