New research estimates that 30% of the world's tree species face extinction

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Sep 01, 2021, 05:37 PM IST


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It is estimated that there are 17,500 species of threatened trees, far more than threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles combined

New research estimates that 30 per cent of the world's tree species are at risk of extinction in the wild. This includes oaks, magnolias, and tropical timber trees, among other species.

At least 30 per cent of the 60,000 trees in the world are under threat of extinction, according to the report, State of the World's Trees.

The number of threatened tree species is estimated to be 17,500, which is twice the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptile species combined.

In the face of threats like deforestation, logging, and climate change, conservation groups are clamouring for urgent protection.

According to the authors, increasing sea level rise, extreme weather patterns, and climate change also pose growing threats to trees. However, conservation may offer hope for the future, according to the authors.

Dr Malin Rivers, of the charity Botanic Gardens Conservation International, says that nearly 60,000 tree species exist on this planet, and for the first time, experts have knowledge of which trees need to be conserved, where they are located and from what threats they are most at risk.

Having diverse tree species is crucial to the health of our planet, says Sara Oldfield, co-chair of the Global Tree Specialist Group of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

She explained that each species of tree has a unique ecological function, and with 30 per cent of the world's tree species threatened with extinction, conservation must be scaled up urgently.

There are 142 species already extinct, while 442 others are teetering on the brink, with fewer than 50 trees remaining in the wild.

Clearance for crop production (affecting 29 per cent), logging (27 per cent), clearance for livestock grazing or farming (14 per cent), clearing for development (13 per cent) and fire (13 per cent) are the top threats for trees worldwide.

The report, said Rivers, lays out a road map to mobilise the conservation community and other players to ensure that tree conservation is a high priority in conservation agendas.

In addition to increasing funding for tree conservation, experts recommend; conserving existing forests and expanding protected areas, preserving threatened species in botanic gardens or seed banks with the hope of one day reintroducing them into the wild. 

Additionally, they suggest awareness programs that teach people about effective reforestation and planting programs, ensuring all trees are planted according to scientific principles, including rare and threatened species.

There are more than one million species of plants and animals threatened with extinction, according to scientists.

Approximately 40 per cent of the global forest area has been lost over the last 300 years, and 29 countries have lost more than 90 per cent of their forests.