State of the World Trees Report_00.1
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State of the World Trees Report

 

Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Context

  • 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.

 

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