A new study shows that 571 plant species on Earth are extinct, more than double the number of bird, mammal and amphibian species that have gone extinct.
The study, published in the journal Nature, Ecology & Evolution, found that 571 plant species worldwide have disappeared from the wild, with plants becoming extinct 500 times faster than without human intervention.
For comparison, the researchers say animals are going extinct at least 1,000 times faster than the normal rate, but the report points out that researchers believe the rate of plant extinction is underestimated.
Researchers from Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens and Stockholm University say this is the first time scientists have conducted a global review of which plants have become extinct.
“Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent centuries, but few can name an extinct plant,” report co-author Alice Humphries Aleys Humphreys said.
Plant extinction rates are highest on islands, in the tropics and in the Mediterranean because these areas are home to unique species that are vulnerable to human activity.
The increase in plant extinction rates may be due to the loss of habitat for species located in small geographical areas, the study said.
The problem is bigger than plant extinction itself – which, the authors say, has ripple effects, including impacts on humans.
“Plants support all life on Earth, they provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat, and they also form the backbone of the world’s ecosystems – so plant extinction is bad news for all species,” the paper said. Author Eimear Nic Lughadha said in a statement.
“Millions of other species depend on plants for their survival, including humans.”
But there’s also a positive aspect to the paper: 430 species once thought extinct have since been rediscovered.
However, the authors noted that 90% of the species that were rediscovered were at “high risk of extinction.”
The study is the latest in a series of grim studies about humanity’s impact on the world.
A United Nations committee has released a landmark report finding that 1 million of the 8 million species on Earth are threatened with extinction.
According to the International Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the global rate of species extinction is “already tens to several tens to several times faster than previous rates (on average, over the past 10 million years)” A hundred times.” This is a United Nations organization, and the report was written by 145 experts from 50 countries.