Humanity has been the reason that sinceIn the mid-18th century, more than 500 plant species were erased from the face of the earth. This conclusion was made by the staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (London), who studied and combined data from the Red Book and various scientific literature. In their opinion, the number of extinct species may be much more, because some of them are simply unknown for now, and some species are already on the verge of extinction.
In the Red Book of the International Union of Protectionnature (IUCN) at the moment there are about 150 extinct plants, but it does not cover all species. In this regard, the team of nerds decided to combine its data with information from third-party literature. It turned out that from 1753 to 2018, 571 plant species died on Earth, and this figure is not final, and may be much more.
People have destroyed more than 500 plants
Researchers have chosen a time period of 265years without reason - it was so many years ago that Carl Linnaeus, Plant Species, was published. In his work, the Swedish scientist listed all the plants known at that time and proved that the basis in biological systematics is the species. The date of publication of the work is considered the day of the creation of the botanical nomenclature.
Having studied various literature researchersfound that the rate of extinction of plants is constantly growing - on average, over the past 250 years, 2.3 species of plants have perished each year. A particular increase in extinction has been seen since 1900 — if, until this time, 256 plants were wiped off the face of the earth, then after this date and to this day, 315 species have been exterminated. Most often, plants are dying out in regions with a tropical and subtropical climate: 79 species have disappeared in Hawaii and 37 plant species in South Africa. The frequent extinction in these regions is explained by the fact that they have a richer variety of life than other territories.
Distribution Map of Disappeared Plants
Among the disappeared plants was a treeSaint Helena (Trochetiopsis erythroxylon), which grew only on the island of the same name. No matter how contradictory it sounded, it was destroyed because of its value - wood was famous for its high strength, and in the 17th century local residents actively used it to build houses.
Stalks of Saint Helena
Also in the list of extinct plants listedsandalwood chile (Santalum fernandezianum). The last time he was seen in 1908 by a botanist Carl Scottsberg - subsequently this species completely disappeared due to active logging, because the tree had aromatic wood.
Extinct Plants May Revive
With all this, some plants are capablerevive. The researchers calculated that 431 plant species were considered extinct, but then were again found in nature. Over the past 30 years, botanists have recorded a revival of 16 plant species, and one of them is the hibiscus Hibiscadelphus woodii, the history of the discovery of which can be read in our material.
Distribution map of newly discovered plants
Why do plants disappear?
Animal vitality is much better studied thanplants, but scientists are well aware of the reasons for their extinction. The main one, of course, is human activity. People destroy their natural habitats and growths in order to expand agricultural areas. Because of this, more than a million species of living organisms are under threat of extinction, some of which may disappear in the next decade.
To reduce the number of plant species alsoaffected by climate change. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), if humanity does not reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, by 2080 50% of plant and animal species can disappear from the face of the earth. Particular damage will be caused to the environs of Baikal, the Amazon Basin, the desert 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 points of the world.
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