One in five plant species are facing extinction, according to the first-ever worldwide assessment of vascular plants compiled by researchers at the London's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
According to The Guardian
, the report, "State of the World's Plants," noted that the threat could put plant-based food and medicine at risk.
"There are many emerging threats also occurring with plant diseases caused by fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens," the Royal Botanic Gardens study stated
. "Research effort into these diseases is skewed towards countries with a wealthier research infrastructure."
"Given the threats associated with climate change, land-use change, invasive plants and diseases, best estimates lead us to believe that 21 percent of the world's plants are currently threatened with extinction. International trade in endangered plants is causing additional pressure on wild biodiversity and strict enforcement of international legislation is crucial," the statement continued.
The report stated that the destruction of habitats for farming (31 percent), such as palm oil production cattle ranching, deforestation (21 percent) and construction of buildings and infrastructure (13 percent) were the main treats to plant extinction.
Climate change only accounts for 4 percent of threatened extinct, noted The Guardian.
The study reported that there are some 391,000 plants known to scientists, with 369,000 of those being flowering plants. Around 2,000 new plant species are discovered each year, according to Kew researchers.
Kathy Willis, science director of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, told the BBC News
that humans are connected to plant life and that plant health is of high importance.
"It's really important to know how many plant species there are, where they are and the relationship between the groups, because plants are absolutely fundamental to our well-being," Willis said. "They provide us with our food, our fuel, our medicines - even controlling our climate."
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