[Science news] - One in three tree species at risk of extinction!
Meise Botanic Garden conducted a study as part of BGCI's Global Tree Assessment (GTA), assessing the extinction risk of all known tree species. The report is the culmination of five years of research to identify key gaps in tree conservation efforts.
30% of the 60.000 globally known tree species - or 17.500 species - are currently threatened with extinction, twice the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.
Researchers from Meise Botanic Garden, in collaboration with a group of about 20 international researchers, examined the situation forf tree species whose distribution is largely restricted to Central Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi). Of the 347 tree species studied, 226 (65%) were found to be at risk of extinction. Of these, 42 (12%) were critically endangered, of which 24 are believed to be already extinct.
Agriculture, logging and livestock farming are the main threats, and in Central Africa, charcoal production can be added, but climate change and extreme weather events are emerging threats. Still, the report gives hope for the future, as long as conservation efforts led by the botanical community continue to increase worldwide. The report shows that at least 64% of all tree species can be found in at least one protected area and about 30% in botanical gardens, seed banks or other ex-situ collections, but that further measures are needed.