New data, published in Science Advances, revealed that close to 57% of tree species in the Amazon rainforest could be endangered. This astonishingly high number would increase the total number of plant species facing extinction globally by nearly 25%.
The research is some of the most in-depth that has been gathered to date. While information exists regarding the general decline of Amazonian forests, very little data exists regarding specific species. The study offered insight into the number of tree species possibly existing within the Amazon, calculating an estimated 15,000 species—making it the most diverse forest in the world.
The trees that could potentially qualify for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, if confirmed, range from the well known, such as the Brazil nut tree, to the obscure, some of which have yet to be researched. Also affected are food crops, like cacao. This wide spectrum means the results of such a loss cannot be determined. Moreover, there is still a great deal of data to be collected.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. South America’s focus on reducing deforestation is helping. Moreover, the increase in land protected by wildlife reserves and national parks will provide an opportunity for many of these plant species to continue to flourish.
With your help, we were recently able to contribute to the protection of these vital plant species! Learn more about this amazing accomplishment here!
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