More than 1/5 of the world’s plant species are now threatened with extinction

…”This is the first ever global assessment on the state of the world’s plants. We already have a ‘State of the World’s … birds, sea-turtles, forests, cities, mothers, fathers, children, even antibiotics’ but not plants,” said Kew director of science Kathy Willis. “I find this remarkable given the importance of plants to all of our lives – from food, medicines, clothing, building materials and biofuels, to climate regulation. This report therefore provides the first step in filling this critical knowledge gap.”

While climate change is a factor threatening the survival of plant species, the biggest issues at the moment include destruction of habitats for farming, deforestation for timber, and the construction of buildings and infrastructure – with 13 out of 14 of the world’s vegetation biomes having seen a loss of more than 10 percent of land in the past decade. Compared to this, climate change alone isn’t as much of a problem right now, although the researchers expect that to change in the future.

“I suspect we won’t actually see the full impact [of climate change] until 30 years down the line as it takes so long for plants, especially trees, to produce their offspring,” Willis told Damian Carrington at The Guardian.

Invasive species of plants are another problem considered in the report, with around 5,000 invasive species around the world threatening native plants and damaging natural ecosystems, with costs estimated at nearly 5 percent of the world economy…


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