A new Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew report has revealed that two in every five plant species, or 40%, are at risk of extinction. According to the report, many plants face this risk due to the continued destruction of the Earth by human activities. If certain plant species are to be lost, it could significantly affect the state of life on Earth as we know it.
Plants and fungi are vital in supporting normal life processes on our planet. They act as medicinal compounds, offer food for humans and animals and can even be used as biofuel. Scientists are now worried that if action is not taken, many known and unknown beneficial plant species will be lost.
In 2019, more than 4,000 new species of plants were discovered. Among the discovered species include six new types of Allium, 10 species related to spinach and two wild relatives of cassava. Used in the correct manner, they could help alleviate hunger and offer medicinal value. But researchers are racing to identify and conserve plant species before they are lost.
“We would be able not to survive without plants and fungi — all life depends on them — and it is really time to open the treasure chest,” said Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. “Every time we lose a species, we lose an opportunity for humankind. We are losing a race against time as we are probably losing species faster than we can find and name them.”
The report was prepared by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew under the leadership of Antonelli. More than 210 scientists from 42 countries were actively involved in the research.
It is paramount that world leaders implement strategies to save endangered species. According to a report released last week, world governments have failed to meet a single target to prevent biodiversity losses in the last decade. This means that many more efforts need to be made to help protect endangered species, including plants and fungi.
Via The Guardian
Image via Jeon Sang-O