Article by ESR Josiane Segar published in Plants People Planet
Societal Impact Statement
Plants play fundamental roles in ecosystems, yet merely 10% of species have an assessment of their global extinction risk. Through the integration of national Red Lists and comprehensive global plant distribution data, we identify previously unassessed plant species in Europe that are threatened throughout their geographic range and thus at risk of global extinction. Our workflow can be replicated to facilitate the integration of disparate national monitoring efforts around the world and help accelerate global plant risk assessments.
- A comprehensive extinction risk assessment for plant species is a global biodiversity target. However, currently, only 10% of plant diversity is assessed in the global Red List of Threatened Species. To guide conservation and restoration actions in times of accelerated species extinction, plant risk assessments must be expedited.
- Here, we examine the extinction risk of vascular plant species in Europe through the integration of two data streams: (1) national Red Lists and (2) global plant distribution data from Kew’s Plants of the World Online database. For each species listed on a national Red List, we create a list of countries that form part of its range and indicate the threat status in these countries, allowing us to calculate the percentage of the range in which a given species is listed as threatened.
- We find that 7% to 9% of European vascular plant diversity is threatened in its entire range, the majority of which are single-country endemics. Of these globally threatened species, 84% currently have no assessment in the global Red List.
- With increasing national biodiversity monitoring commitments shaping the post-2020 policy environment, we anticipate that integrating national Red Lists with global plant distribution data is a scalable workflow that can help accelerate global risk assessments of plants.