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Three in four undescribed plants threatened with extinction, says Kew

by | 11 Oct 23 | Nature & Biodiversity, News

Three in four undescribed plants are already threatened with extinction, says Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew’s new State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2023 report.

In the report, published yesterday, Kew acknowledges the current landscape of plants and fungi around the world, and what needs to be done to protect them.

The data, drawn from 200 scientists from over 100 institutions around the world, shows almost 19,000 new species of plants and fungi have been named since 2020, while over 90% of fungi worldwide remain unknown.

Almost 80% of undescribed vascular plants and nearly half (45%) of known flowering plants are estimated to be threatened with extinction.

The report also outlines a ‘critical’ gap in knowledge, with 32 plant diversity ‘darkspots’ identified, professor Alexandre Antonelli, director of science at RBG Kew, says: “At a time when plants and fungi are increasingly under threat, we need to act fast to fill knowledge gaps and identify priorities for conservation.

“Accelerating our understanding of plant and fungal diversity is crucial to achieving the ambitious goals and targets of the recently agreed Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, with manifold benefits to local stakeholders and global scientific knowledge.”

Kew will be hosting a hybrid symposium across a three-day event on the report findings at its Gardens on 11 – 13 October.

Picture: Wakehurst Autumn at Wakehurst Autumn Jim Holden © RBG Kew 2019

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