Plants Are Going Extinct Faster Than Ever Before

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 week ago | News

Image: Solange photographed by Ryan McGinley in a field of grass. Image source.

We know that the environment is in dire straits right now – given the planet is currently on fire and fast fashion is only getting faster. But we are still pretty devastated to learn that the world’s plants are now going extinct at rates faster than ever before. 

“Earth is seeing an unprecedented loss of species, which some ecologists are calling a sixth mass extinction,” Quartz reports. “In May, a United Nations report warned that 1 million species are threatened by extinction. More recently, 571 plant species were declared extinct.”

These are alarming figures that suggest the rate of plant extinction has increased as a result of modern lifestyles. In recent research published in Current Biology, it was discovered that some plants have been going extinct up to 350 times faster than the historical average. 

Examining 291 modern plant extinctions between biodiversity hot- and coldspots, the research looked at the underlying causes of extinction and found that modern agriculture and urbanization were among the most important drivers of plant extinctions in both hot- and coldspots. 

Habitat destruction was ruled to be the primary cause of most extinctions. And herbaceous perennials such as grasses were found to be particularly vulnerable to extinction. “There is no doubt that biodiversity loss, together with climate change, are some of the biggest challenges faced by humanity,” Quartz points out. “Along with human-driven habitat destruction, the effects of climate change are expected to be particularly severe on plant biodiversity. Current estimates of plant extinctions are, without a doubt, gross underestimates.”

All of which is quite worrying, considering plant health is essential to life on Earth. So, the moral of this story, then? To support environmentally sustainable practices wherever possible in our day-to-day lives. 

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