Flora in danger of extinction

flora in danger

The report on the state of plants and fungi in the world, prepared by a team of 200 scientists from 42 countries, has revealed a truly alarming statistic: 40% of all plant species on Earth face the threat of extinction. This worrying figure highlights the dire consequences of the loss of biodiversity and the unsustainable demand for certain plant species. There are already 4 out of 10 plants in danger of extinction.

In this article we are going to tell you which are the best-known extinction plants and what you can do to contribute.

Not only fauna is at risk of extinction

endangered plants

The rapid and unprecedented deterioration of our natural world is evident not only in the decline in the number of animal species but also in the precarious state of plant life. According to the World's Plants and Fungi 2020 study, a staggering 39,4% of global plant species are now at risk of extinction, almost double the 21% estimate made in 2016.

The main objective is the preservation of biodiversity to promote sustainability and understand the effects of climate change on ecosystems while finding strategies to alleviate its impact. A limited number of plant species are currently used for food and biofuel purposes, despite the availability of numerous alternative options.

There is a study that emphasizes the vast potential of 7.039 edible plants that could serve as food sources in the future. However, it should be noted that just 15 plants contribute to 90% of the dietary energy intake of the world population. Additionally, approximately 4 billion people depend exclusively on three crops: rice, corn and wheat.

A few months ago, Alexandre Antonelli, one of the authors of the study and director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the United Kingdom, warned about the rapid rate at which species are disappearing, outpacing our ability to discover and classify them. These lost species may contain vital information that could help address pressing medical challenges and potentially even the current and emerging pandemics we are currently witnessing.

Another contributing factor is the use of plants for energy production. According to the research, A staggering 2.500 plant species have been identified as potential sources of fuel or bioenergy. However, it is quite surprising that just six crops - corn, sugar cane, soybeans, palm oil, rapeseed and wheat - account for a whopping 80% of global industrial biofuel production.

Furthermore, scientists postulate that the increased demand for herbal medicines, resulting from various factors, such as the increasing prevalence of specific chronic diseases and the search for alternative treatments, contributes to these unfavorable statistics.

Plant extinction can be attributed to several important factors, including climate change, pollution, and the presence of invasive alien species. These factors have contributed to an alarming extinction rate that exceeds the average rate observed in the last 10 million years. This makes there forests without flora.

Plants in extinction, get to know them

Western Underground Orchid

It is an endangered plant species that lives in specific regions of the Western Hemisphere. It is characterized by its peculiar underground way of life, which It distinguishes it from other more well-known orchids. This plant develops its life cycle mainly underground, with only its flowers occasionally emerging to the surface.

It has a great capacity to survive in extremely inhospitable environments that are not easily accessible to other plants. This adaptation allows it to thrive in soils with adverse conditions, where other species could not survive.

Jade green flower

It is native to the arid regions of South Africa, although it has spread to other parts of the world thanks to its popularity as an ornamental plant. It is a succulent plant that stores water in its fleshy leaves, which allows it to survive in drought conditions and with little water available. This adaptation makes it ideal for xeriscape gardens and for those looking for low-maintenance plants.

Despite its relative ease of cultivation, it faces threats, especially when it is introduced into non-native habitats and becomes an invasive species. In these cases, it can compete with native species and alter the ecological balance.

Corpse flower

corpse flower

What makes the Corpse Flower so exceptional is its inflorescence, which is one of the largest and most striking in the plant world. This gigantic inflorescence is what gives the plant its common name of “Corpse Flower,” since it Its smell of rotting flesh, similar to that of a decomposing animal, is often described as unbearable.

Although the unpleasant odor may seem counterintuitive, it is essential for the survival of the plant. This aroma attracts scavenging insects, such as flies and beetles, which are the main pollinators. Difficulties, research and conservation efforts continue to protect and preserve this unique plant. Botanical gardens and other institutions dedicated to biodiversity conservation work to study and reproduce the Corpse Flower, hoping to ensure its survival both in its natural habitat and in botanical collections around the world.

baobab tree

baobabs

The Baobab Tree is one of the most emblematic and recognizable species of African landscapes. Its distinctive silhouette, with a massive trunk and thick branches that resemble roots, makes it an imposing presence in the arid and semi-desert regions of the African continent. It faces significant threats due to deforestation, habitat degradation and climate change. The loss of these emblematic trees has a negative impact on the biodiversity of the regions where they grow and on the communities that depend on them for their livelihood and culture.

The Toromiro

It is a species of tree endemic to Easter Island, located in the Pacific Ocean. It faced a rapid decline in its population due to deforestation, the introduction of invasive species and overgrazing of introduced animals. By the end of the 20th century, the species was on the verge of extinction in the wild, with only a few specimens surviving in the wild.

What can we do to prevent it?

There are various actions we can take to help prevent plants from being in danger of extinction and to contribute to their conservation.

Education and awareness

Raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the threats that plants face is essential. To achieve this, workshops can be organized at a local school on the importance of native plant conservation and how individual actions can make a difference.

Habitat conservation

Protecting and restoring natural habitats is necessary to ensure the survival of plants and other species. To do this, you can participate in reforestation projects in deforested or degraded areas, planting native species and eliminating invasive plants that compete with local species.

Environmental legislation and policies

Supporting policies and laws that protect biodiversity and regulate the use of natural resources is essential. We must advocate for laws that prohibit the indiscriminate felling of forests and that promote the protection of key natural areas for the conservation of endangered plant species.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about plants in danger of extinction and what can be done to avoid it.


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