A third of tropical African plants are on the verge of extinction. This was reported by the Air Force Africa with reference to a new study by the French National Institute for Sustainable Development.
Most of West Africa, Ethiopia, and parts of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the most affected regions that can lose more than 40% of their natural wealth, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
The risk group also includes various types of trees, shrubs, grasses and tree vines. Scientists believe that the main threats to the region’s plant diversity are deforestation, population growth, and climate change.
“Biological diversity brings countless benefits to people, and loss of diversity threatens our future,” said lead researcher Thomas Couvreur of the French National Institute for Sustainable Development.
Loss of biodiversity will be especially problematic in tropical Africa, “a region of incredible diversity, but with serious social and political problems and the expected rapid population growth over the next decades,” he added.
The results of the study were based on a revised method for assessing the risk of extinction. To date, extinction risks have been estimated for almost nine out of 10 mammals and two-thirds of birds, but for less than 8% of vascular plants (flowering plants and most other plants except mosses and algae).
To determine their status, the researchers used a similar, but faster method for assessing the likely risk of extinction, as a result of which more than 20,000 plant species were examined.
Researchers found that 33% of the species are potentially endangered, and another third of the species have been recognized as rare and prone to become endangered in the near future.
According to them, this problem is mainly related to human activities, such as changes in land use that cause deforestation, population growth, economic development and climate change.