Humanity was the reason, since the mid-eighteenth century with the face of the Earth was erased more than 500 species of plants. To such conclusion employees of the Royal Botanic gardens Kew (London), who have studied and combined data from the red book and the various scientific literature. According to them, number of extinct species can be much more, because part of them is simply unknown, and some species are already on the verge of extinction.
In the red book of the International Union for conservation of nature (IUCN) currently has about 150 extinct plants, but it covers not all types. In this regard, a team of nerds decided to combine its data with information from third-party literature. It turned out that from 1753 to 2018 on the Ground were killed, 571 species of plants, and this figure is not final, and could be much more.
People and destroyed more than 500 plants
The researchers chose a time period of 265 years for a reason — so many years ago was published the work of Carl Linnaeus “Species”. In his work of Swedish scientist have listed all known at the time of the plant and proved that the basis of biological systematics is the species. Date of publication of the work is considered day of creation of Botanical nomenclature.
After reviewing different literature, the researchers found that the rate of extinction of plants is increasing — on average over the last 250 years killed annually 2.3 types of plants. A special increase in the extinction seen from 1900, when the Earth was erased 256 plants after that date to the present day were exterminated 315 species. Often plants die out in regions with tropical and subtropical climates in Hawaii disappeared 79, and South Africa — 37 species of plants. Frequent extinction in these regions is due to the fact that they have a richer diversity of life than other areas.
A map of the distribution of extinct plants
Among the missing plants was the tree of St. Helena (Trochetiopsis erythroxylon), which grew only on the island. Matter how contradictory it may sound, it was destroyed because of their values — wood is famous for its high strength, and XVII local people actively used it for building houses.
The stems of the tree of St. Helena
Also on the list of extinct plants listed sandalwood Chile (Santalum fernandezianum). The last time he was seen in 1908 by the botanist Carl Scottsburg — subsequently, the species has completely disappeared due to active deforestation, because wood has an aromatic wood.
Extinct plants can be revived
With all this, some plants are able to recover. The researchers calculated that 431 species of plants are considered extinct, but then was found again in nature. Over the past 30 years, botanists have documented the revival of the 16 species of plants, including hibiscus Hibiscadelphus woodii, the history of the discovery which you can read in our material.
A map of the distribution re-open plants
Why plants disappear?
The persistence of the studied animals much better than plants, but scientists are well known causes for their extinction. Chief among them, of course, is human activity. People are destroying their natural habitats and growth in order to expand agricultural areas. Because of this, under the threat of extinction is currently more than a million species of living organisms, some of them may disappear in the next decade.
To reduce the number of plant species is also affected by climate change. According to the world wildlife Fund (WWF), if humanity does not reduce the amount of produced greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, by 2080 the face of the Earth can disappear in 50% of the species of plants and animals. Special damage will be done with the surroundings of lake Baikal, the Amazon basin, deserts of Namibia and Madagascar. Such conclusions were made in the course of studying the influence of climate on 80 thousand plants and animals in 33 locations around the world.
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