Almost 600 Plant Species Have Disappeared from the Wild over the Past 250 Years
Almost 600 plant species have disappeared from the wild over the past 250 years. This shows a new study quoted by the BBC. The number of lost plants is based on genuinely extinct species, not assumptions, and is twice as large as all bird species, mammals and fish taken together.
Scientists say the plants are dying up to 500 times faster than what would be expected naturally.
In May, in a UN report, 1 million animals and plants were in danger of extinction. Scientists say the analysis of all documented extinct plants in the world shows what lessons people have to learn to stop future such tragedies.
“Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few could name an extinct plant”, said Dr Aelys Humphreys of Stockholm University.
Among the lost plants are the Chile sandalwood, which was appreciated for its essential oils, banded trinity plant, which spent much of its life underground, and the Saint Helena olive tree, which has pink flowers.
The biggest damage is to the flora of the islands and the tropics, which are home to the highly valued tropical forests and have a great biodiversity.
“Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Stockholm University found that 571 plant species had disappeared in the last two and a half centuries, a number that is more than twice the number of birds, mammals and amphibians recorded as extinct (a combined total of 217 species)”, quoted by the BBC.
Luckily there is light at the end of the tunnel - a few plants thought to have disappeared long ago as the Chilean Crocus were discovered again.
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