- GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
- Recently, Botanic Gardens Conservation International released a report on State of the World Trees and warned about the extinction of trees in the world.
Key points of the report
- Almost a third of the world’s tree species are at risk of extinction, while hundreds are on the brink of being wiped out.
- 17,500 tree species – some 30% of the total – are a risk of extinction, while 440 species have fewer than 50 individuals left in the wild.
- Overall, the number of threatened tree species is double the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.
- Among the most at-risk trees are species including magnolias and dipterocarps – which are commonly found in Southeast Asian rainforests. Oak trees, maple trees and ebonies also face threats.
- Thousands of varieties of trees in the world’s top six countries—Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Colombia and Venezuela—for tree-species diversity are at risk of extinction.
- The greatest single number is in Brazil, where 1,788 species are at risk.
Main threats for trees according to IUCN
- Agriculture crops, logging, livestock farming, residential and commercial development, fire and fire suppression, energy production and mining, wood and pulp plantations, invasive and other problematic species, and climate change.
- At least 180 tree species are directly threatened by rising seas and severe weather.
Most common uses of trees according to IUCN
- Construction, medicine, horticulture, fuels, human food, household goods.
Recommendations for policy makers
- Extend protected area coverage for threatened tree species.
- Ensure that threatened tree species are conserved in botanic garden and seed banks.
- Increase government and corporate funding for protection of threatened species.
- Increase inter-regional collaboration for a comprehensive solution.