Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Extinction threat to one fifth of world's plants

Saw this grim heading from AFP citing recent studies from Kew.

Stephen Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew was quoted as saying "This study confirms what we already suspected, that plants are under threat and the main cause is human-induced habitat loss"

....well , not new, but perhaps now they can put a number to it ....

Especially threatened is the habitat of tropical forest, which has been converted to agricultural land. Human activity accounted for 81 percent of threats, according to Kew researcher Neil Brummitt.

Here's another snippet :

Plants were more threatened than birds, as threatened as mammals and less threatened than amphibians or corals, it said. Gymnosperms, the plant group including fir trees, were the most threatened.

Well....ok....so what can we do about it ?

Rather then just leaving it to a handful of institutions, I suppose if each serious gardener can adopt just one or two species - propagate them well and send them off to interested parties all over the world, then this could lighten the load. But unfortunately, things are not so simple - even if there are gardeners with inclination and expertise, we still have to overcome regional politics, CITES, customs and security red tapes and the like ....

....enough muttering, back to the garden.

You can see full reports all over the web, but here's one from yahoo

Addenda:

In response to rohrerbot's comment, I did a rough calculation - we can actually pack everyone in the world into a land mass the size of Sweden if we can accept living conditions equivalent to people from the Korean capital of Seoul (hey, I am not talking about Mumbai here), and leave the rest of our planet to the wildlife and plants. Its a rough guide but it just goes to show how much can be improved upon if there is a will.

Basis of my calculations :
world population of 6871600000
Population density of Seoul 167000
Sweden land mass 450 000 sq/km

6 comments:

rohrerbot said...

Unfortuneatly things are going to get worse. As gardeners, we can do our best to try and help, but ultimately our population will grow to big for the world to handle and I'm afraid people will be the first to go....and that's a sad thought to this sad report. War and disease will be the least of our worries when the human species wipes out everything they touch.....not in our lifetime....but in the next two generations that follow.

Hermes said...

Like you, I'm concerned but there's been rather a counter-attack here, eg.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/29/third-of-extinct-species-alive

Hermes said...

This might interest you, was news to me but just mentioned on the radio:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/norway-and-guyana-sign-rainforest-deal-1823225.html

This seems to be the original article for your main story:

http://www.kew.org/news/one-fifth-of-plants-under-threat-of-extinction.htm

vijay said...

Really your blog is so thrilling ........

from bheemeshwari

Hort Log said...

Hi Vijay...thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

vijay said...

yes...

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