As much as one-third of all flowering plants face extinction at the hands of humans, according to new research—and that’s not even factoring in climate change. Such a die-off would have a devastating impact on the food chain. As one of the researchers put it, “if you get rid of [plants] you get rid of a lot of the things above them.”
“If we take the number of species that are currently known to be threatened, and add to that those that are yet to be discovered, we can estimate that between 27% and 33% of all flowering plants will be threatened with extinction,” said David Roberts, one of the co-authors, of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent.
The paper adds: “These estimates are based on immediate threat, and do not consider further development of destructive factors - including climate disruption.” The paper’s third, lead, author was Lucas Joppa of Microsoft Research in Cambridge.