Fifth of plant types at risk as farms, logging expand

May 10, 2016 at 3:40 pm

One in five types of plant worldwide is at risk of extinction from threats such as farming and logging that are wrecking many habitats, a first global overview of plant life said on Tuesday.

In total, 391,000 types of plants are known to science, from tiny orchids to giant sequoia trees, according to the “State of the World´s Plants” written by 80 experts led by the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) at Kew, in London.

And despite 21 percent of all the species being threatened with extinction, the report also said new plants were still
being discovered, such as a 1.5 metre (5 feet) tall insect-eating plant on a mountaintop in Brazil in 2015.Nonetheless, the experts said many parts of the world were suffering rapid change, such as from the felling of tropical
forests to make way for farms and cities.

Global warming was among other man-made risks. “There´s a huge change going on, mainly agricultural change
and land for urbanisation,” said Kathy Willis, RBG Kew´s director of science.

The report, meant as a first annual audit of the world´s plants, omits plants such as algae and mosses. Willis said a rising world population of more than 7 billion people needed food and places to live and that scientists should
be pragmatic and help identify areas most in need of conservation.

The study said 31,000 plant species had documented uses such as in medicines, food or building materials.
Little-known plants might have unknown benefits, such as resilience to diseases.

“If we completely clear the land and have a type of monoculture what happens when a new plant disease emerges and
wipes out the crop entirely?” asked Steve Bachman, a species conservation researcher at RBG.

About 2,000 new types of plant were still being described every year. The one found in Minas Gerais, Brazil, was the drosera magnifica, one of the largest known carnivorous plants.

It was identified by a specialist in sundew plants who was reviewing photographs on Facebook taken by an orchid hunter.

Tim Utteridge, head of identification at RBG, said carnivorous plants had a wide following online, helping
identification of unknown specimens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent News

No need to lecture us on relig
ISLAMABAD – Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned senior US officials and lodged a strong after Washington added Pakistan to its blacklist of countries violating religious freedom. According to di...
December 13, 2018 Read More
PM forms committee for inquiry
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday ordered constitution of a fact-finding committee for an inquiry against managing directors (MDs) of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui...
December 13, 2018 Read More
if NAB is being used to pressu
Addressing a National Assembly session, Abbasi said, “Opposition Leader was arrested and till date a case could not be formed against him. Accountability institutions are being used to exert pressu...
December 13, 2018 Read More
Army chief Bajwa witnesses ong
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa witnessed the ongoing Pak-China International Air Exercise Shaheen-VII at an operational air base of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in Karachi on Wednesd...
December 13, 2018 Read More
IHC orders removal of Zulfi Bu
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday ordered removal of name of Zulfi Bukhari, Prime Minister's Adviser on Overseas Pakistanis, from the Exit Control List (ECL). A division bench of the...
December 13, 2018 Read More
Pakistan celebrates 71 years o
ISLAMABAD: The nation celebrated 71st Independence Day today (Tuesday) with traditional fervour and enthusiasm. All major public and private buildings, roads and avenues were decorated with illumin...
August 14, 2018 Read More
President, caretaker PM felici
ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain and caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk extended heartiest felicitations to all Pakistanis on the occasion of Independence Day. President Mamn...
August 14, 2018 Read More
Imran Khan felicitates Nation
Islamabad : Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Tuesday felicitated the nation on Independence Day as he vowed to realise Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal’s visio
August 14, 2018 Read More
epaper fold