START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
4,359,876 people care about Environment & Wildlife

One in Five Plant Species Endangered

One in Five Plant Species Endangered

One in five of the world’s 380,000 plant species is threatened with extinction according to a study just released by Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London’s Natural History Museum and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  

The study marks the first global analysis of the world’s plants ever conducted, and scientists hope it will serve as a baseline to measure conservation efforts. The findings, which were based on data analyzed in a five-year study and complied into the Sampled Red List Index for Plants, found that 22% of species are endangered, critically endangered, or vulnerable. The report also said that tropical forests, such as Brazil’s rainforests, are most at risk.

“The single greatest threat is conversion of natural habitats to agricultural use, directly impacting thirty three percent of threatened species,” according to the report, which comes out in anticipation of a United Nations’ Biodiversity Summit in Nagoya, Japan scheduled for mid-October.

“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,” Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens said in Science Daily. “The 2020 biodiversity target that will be discussed in Nagoya is ambitious, but in a time of increasing loss of biodiversity it is entirely appropriate to scale up our efforts. Plants are the foundation of biodiversity and their significance in uncertain climatic, economic and political times has been overlooked for far too long,” he added.

“Present day human activities are pushing more plants towards extinction, but if the world’s governments take the right steps … we do have the potential to safeguard plant life and the creatures that depend on it,” said Steve Bachman, a plant conservation analyst at Kew told Reuters.

According to Reuters: The study involved sampling about 7,000 plant species drawn from five major groups. Both common and rare plants species were assessed to try to give an accurate picture of how plants were faring around the world, the scientists said at a briefing for reporters. Researchers studied a random sample of about 1,500 species from each group, since assessing the threat to all the world’s estimated 380,000 plant species would be too enormous a task.

“We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear — plants are the basis of all life on Earth, providing clean air, water, food and fuel. All animal and bird life depends on them and so do we,” said Hopper.

“The diversity of plants underpins all life on earth, so it is sobering that our own species is threatening the survival of many thousands of plant species,” said Neil Brummitt, a botanical diversity researcher at the Natural History Museum. “We’ve set the baseline. Now we need to all work together to safeguard not only the future of plants but the future of ourselves.”


Read more: , , , , , , , ,

photo credit: Neezam75 |

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
3:03AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

And "we" seem to not care for plants (because they do not speak, do not show feelings - "we" do not understand, maybe they do), for nature itself... :(

3:01AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals has to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy averything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

7:06AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Thanks for the plants that live in our planet!

9:02PM PDT on Mar 14, 2011


10:53AM PDT on Oct 10, 2010

Soylent Green = The Final Solution....

1:39PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

Had heard this story, it is bad for insects and other wildlife that rely on certain plants for survival. These plants are crucial to the survival of animals in general.

1:21PM PDT on Oct 3, 2010

I live in Hawaii, the extinction capital of the US. There is a federally fund program called the Kaulunani Grant program. It is designed to restore native trees and other native plants back into the habitat. Using this program I have twice reintroduced natives and endangered plants back into their natural range. Check with the state Department of Forestry and Wildlife in your area. They too may have a similar program. These trees are FREE with enough volunteer or offset expenses.

7:07PM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

Don't cry, when all the plants are under housing and golf courses, Monsanto has a surprise for us. Announcing Soylent Green!

8:40AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010


1:17AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

We are nothing without our fauna and flora. On the other hand, nature will thrive if humans were not here! We have to understand that and protect our plants and animals!

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Kevn B., Are you paying 35% of your income in taxes. No, you ate claiming deductions. Therefore, you…

I'm a wildlife keeper and amphibians and reptiles are my specialty. They are much more intelligent than…

According to the scientist, NO.…

meet our writers

Steve Williams Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) rights, human... more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!