Agriculture, logging, and livestock farming top threats to world’s trees – report
The landmark report – State of the World’s Trees – is the culmination of five years’ research by the Global Tree Assessment (GTA) to identify major gaps in tree conservation efforts.
That means there are twice the number of threatened tree species globally than threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined. Over 440 tree species are right on the brink of extinction, the report reveals, meaning they have fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild.
One in five treesThe report published by the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) provides one of the most comprehensive analyses of the uses and threats facing different tree species.
The greatest threats facing trees include habitat loss from agriculture and grazing, followed by over-exploitation from logging and harvesting. The report finds that one in three trees currently harvested for timber are threatened with extinction. Top threats and tree species impacted:
- Agriculture (trees cleared for crop production) 29%;
- Logging for timber 27%;
- Livestock farming (trees cleared for farming/grazing) 14%;
- Urbanisation (cleared for residential and commercial development) 13%;
- Fire 13%.
Climate changeClimate change and extreme weather are also emerging threats to tree species globally, according to the report.
HopeThe report finds hope for the future, however, as conservation efforts led by the botanical community worldwide are growing. In the report, BGCI recommend five key actions for policymakers and experts in order to protect and bring back threatened species:
- Extend protected area coverage for threatened tree species that are currently not-well represented in protected areas;
- Ensure that all globally threatened tree species, where possible, are conserved in botanic garden and seed-bank collections;
- Increase availability of Government and corporate funding for threatened tree species;
- Expand tree-planting schemes, and ensure the targeted planting of threatened and native species;
- Increase global collaboration to tackle tree extinction, by participating in international efforts such as the Global Conservation Consortia.