Published on: September 4, 2021

STATE OF THE WORLD’S TREES REPORT

STATE OF THE WORLD’S TREES REPORT

Nova Odessa By : Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)

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  • Species Under Threat:
    • 17,500 tree species which is some 30% of the total – are at risk of extinction, while 440 species have fewer than 50 individuals left in the wild.
    • 11% of the flora or plant life of every country was made up of threatened species.
    • Overall the number of threatened tree species is double the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.
  • Most At-Risk Trees: Among the most at-risk trees are species including magnolias and dipterocarps – which are commonly found in Southeast Asian rainforests. Oak trees, maple trees and ebonies also face threats.
  • Countries with Highest Risk: Thousands of varieties of trees in the world’s top six countries for tree-species diversity are at risk of extinction. The greatest single number is in Brazil, where 1,788 species are at risk. The other five countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Colombia and Venezuela. There were also 27 countries that had no threatened species of trees.
  • Island Trees: Though megadiverse countries see the greatest numbers of varieties at risk of extinction, island tree species are more proportionally at risk.
  • This is particularly concerning because many islands have species of trees that can be found nowhere else.
  • Major Threats:
    • The top three threats facing tree species are crop production, timber logging and livestock farming, while climate change and extreme weather are emerging threats.
    • At least 180 tree species are directly threatened by rising seas and severe weather, especially island species such as magnolias in the Caribbean.
  • Need of Saving Trees:
    • Support System: Trees help support the natural ecosystem and are considered vital for combating global warming and climate change. The extinction of a single tree species could cause a domino effect, catalysing the loss of many other species.
    • Act as Buffer: They store 50% of the world’s terrestrial carbon and provide a buffer from extreme weather, such hurricanes and tsunamis.
    • Habitat & Food: Many threatened tree species provide the habitat and food for millions of other species of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and microorganisms.
  • Suggestion for Policymakers:
    • Extend Protection: Extend protected area coverage for threatened tree species that are currently not-well represented in protected areas.
    • Conservation: Ensure that all globally threatened tree species, where possible, are conserved in botanic garden and seed bank collections.
    • Increase Funding: Increase availability of Government and corporate funding for threatened tree species.
    • Expand Schemes: Expand tree planting schemes, and ensure the targeted planting of threatened and native species.
    • Increase Collaboration: Increase global collaboration to tackle tree extinction, by participating in international efforts.