A third of Africa's tropical plants could go extinct: Study

A new study has found that roughly 7,000 plant species in the African continent are in danger of extinction due to climate change.


NSFW    AFRICA — A new study from the journal Science Advances suggests that roughly 7,000, or 33 percent, of African plant species risk extinction.

The researchers focused on two International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List criteria, related to habitat decline and future population reduction, and developed an algorithm to assess more than 20,000 plant species' risk of going extinct.

Based on the assessment, four African regions — Ethiopia, west Africa, central Tanzania and the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo — in particular were found to be the most vulnerable, with more than 40 percent of local flora potentially being threatened with extinction.

Species at risk include local trees, herbs, lianas and shrubs.

The study also pointed to ecoregions concentrated in West Africa that include large numbers of threatened species, specifically the Inner Niger Delta savanna, Sahelian Acacia savanna, Guinean mangroves, western Guinean lowland forest and Guinean montane forests.

Researchers said these plant species are threatened by deforestation, climate change and population growth.

In addition, scientists found another third of flora species in the region that is likely rare and could potentially risk extinction in the near future.

Co-author of the study, Gilles Dauby, from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development told the Guardian that these species could likely be threatened if human pressure increases in tropical Africa.
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