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While we cover animal species extinctions a lot in ODP, but plants are also struggling to survive in a world that’s rapidly being altered by climate change. According to a new study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, 600 plant extinctions have taken place of the past two and a half centuries. As the Guardian explained, “The number of plants that have disappeared from the wild is more than twice the number of extinct birds, mammals and amphibians combined. The new figure is also four times the number of extinct plants recorded in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list.”Surprise! Humans at Fault: Plant extinction today is occurring at a rate that is 500 times greater than before the Industrial Revolution–and the researchers warn that this number could be an understatement. Our activity such as clear-cutting forests for mining, logging and agriculture is the primary driver of this mass extinction. In fact, we’re killing so many plants that many of them may not have even been discovered before becoming extinct.
A Unique Study: As the BBC reported this particular study conducted by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Stockholm University,
Is an analysis of all documented plant extinctions in the world shows what lessons can be learned to stop future extinctions.
Is also “The first time we have an overview of what plants have already become extinct, where they have disappeared from and how quickly this is happening,” according to Dr. Aelys Humphreys of Stockholm University.
Dr. Humphreys also explained that “Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few could name an extinct plant.”
Why it Matters: Plants are as the basis of most ecosystems, provide the air we breathe and also serve as a source of food for animals and humans. A sustained mass extinction of plants would have severe consequences for human life and can lead to extinctions of animals as well, such as insects that use plants for food and for laying their eggs. For now, we need to better understand which plants we’re losing and where they’re coming from so we can better manage our behavior and slow their extinction. Part of that management can result from the 30 by 30 plan which calls for 30% of the planet to be managed for nature by 2030—and for half the planet to be protected by 2050.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As wildfires and deforestation grip the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous communities are urging world governments to pledge to protect 80% of the forest by 2025. The groups launched their campaign at a biodiversity conference in France, where experts from around the world are laying the groundwork for the UN’s delayed […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new assessment found that at least 30% of the world’s 60,000 tree species are nearing extinction in the wild. The number of tree species threatened— 17,500— is twice that of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles combined. Why this Matters: Trees are crucial to maintaining the earth’s ecosystems. Trees not […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Over the next 30 years, Russia plans to increase its greenhouse gas emissions. That’s right: the country’s latest climate plan shows an 8.2% rise in carbon emissions from 2019 to 2050. The world’s fourth-largest polluter plans to rely on its extensive forests to meet climate targets by planting more trees and reducing wildfires. The plan […]
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