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

29 September 2010 | News story

A global analysis of extinction risk for the world's plants, conducted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew together with the Natural History Museum, London and IUCN, has revealed that the world’s plants are as threatened as mammals, with one in five of the world’s plant species threatened with extinction.

The study is a major baseline for plant conservation and is the first time that the true extent of the threat to the world’s estimated 380,000 plant species has been known. The study has been announced as governments prepare to meet in Nagoya, Japan in mid-October 2010 to set new targets to reduce the loss of biodiversity at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“This study confirms what we already suspected, that plants are under threat and the main cause is human induced habitat loss. For the first time we have a clear global picture of extinction risk to the world’s known plants", says Professor Stephen Hopper, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. "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.”
 
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