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Dying out

Dying out

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Plants are just as endangered as mammals, SIMON WEBSTER reports.

One-fifth of the world’s plants are in danger of extinction, a global study has found.


An assessment of 4000 species by scientists from England’s Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, concluded that 22 per cent were threatened.


This is about the same as the extinction threat to the world’s mammals.


Man-induced habitat loss is largely to blame – in particular, the clearing of forests for agriculture, with tropical rainforests the worst affected regions.


The result of the study is the Sampled Red List Index for Plants. The data will be used to help set goals at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan this month.


The Kew website has lots of information on the study here, including an interactive map.