Around a third of the world's tree species are facing the risk of extinction, while hundreds are on the brink of being wiped out, a new report said. According to the State of the World's Trees report, published by Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) on Wednesday, September 1, around 17,500 tree species – or 30 percent of the total – are at risk of extinction, while 440 species have fewer than 50 specimens left in the wild.
Globally, there are about 58,497 tree species.
BGCI Secretary-General Paul Smith said, "This report is a wake-up call to everyone worldwide that trees need help." The report said that the number of threatened species is double the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles combined.
Species like magnolias and dipterocarps, which are commonly found in Southeast Asian rainforests, are the most vulnerable tree species. Oak trees, maple trees, and ebonies also face threats.
Among all the countries, Madagascar had the most threatened tree species (1,842), followed by Brazil (1,788). The other countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Threats Facing Tree Species
The primary threats due to the tree species include crop production, timber logging, and livestock farming. Climate change and extreme weather are the other emerging threats.
The reports mention that at least 180 tree species are directly threatened by rising sea levels and severe weather.
The extinction of a single tree species could prompt the loss of many others. "Every tree species matters — to the millions of other species that depend on trees and to people all over the world," Smith added.
The report states that 469 of India's 2,603 tree species (18 per cent) are threatened with extinction. It is also home to 650 endemic tree species that are not found anywhere else.