Leo Sher, M.D.
A research report, “Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery” has been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution online ahead of print (1).
The authors of this work state that extinction of biodiversity is a key part of our planet’s past, present and future. They performed global analysis of modern extinction in plants. The database on seed plant extinction was built using all available sources of information: global, regional and national Red Lists, taxonomic revisions, floras, research papers, field trips and herbarium visits.
The authors found that almost 600 species have become extinct in the last two and a half centuries but almost as many have been erroneously declared extinct and then been rediscovered. The geographical pattern of modern extinction of plants is very similar to the pattern of animal extinction: all of the top extinction areas are high-diversity regions with a tropical or Mediterranean climate, including islands. Researchers found no phylogenetic pattern to plant extinction, i.e., extinctions were randomly distributed among evolutionary groups. The authors suggest that plant extinctions endanger other organisms, ecosystems and human well-being, and must be understood for effective conservation planning.
- Humphreys AM, Govaerts R, Ficinski SZ, Nic Lughadha E, Vorontsova MS. Global dataset shows geography and life form predict modern plant extinction and rediscovery. Nat Ecol Evol. 2019 Jun 10. doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-0906-2. [Epub ahead of print]