Plant species useless to humans will soon disappear, study warns


The Earth’s biodiversity is approaching another grim milestone. Plants that humans no longer need are on the verge of extinction, a new study has revealed.

In an assessment of more than 80,000 species of plants from around the world, scientists found that most of these plants would essentially disappear. Why? Simply because humans have no use for them.

This would have an impact on the plant communities of the future which would become more homogenized than those of today, according to the article published in the journal Plants, People, Planet.

Magnolia ekmanii | Martin Reith (CC BY-NC)


Researchers call this a “wake-up call.” “It’s not the future, it’s happening. The bottleneck is starting to happen right now. And I think that’s part of the wake-up call that we’re trying to raise here. It’s something we could maybe slow down a bit, but it’s happening,” said study lead author John Kress of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. , to the Guardian.


What these researchers have done is classify the plant species that have experienced the brunt of human activity since the start of the “Anthropocene” – a geological period after which global warming began.

Read also : Earth’s ecosystems are reaching a point of no recovery from climate change

Of the 86,592 plant species they assessed, only 6,749 proved useful to humans. These include corn, rice, wheat, etc.

Around 20,290 plants have been classified as losers in this race for survival, mainly because they have no use for humans. These include the Haitian magnolia, cycads, redwoods, junipers and araucariales – all of which will disappear completely.

26,002 species were rated as potential losers, while 18,664 species were rated as potential winners.

Read also : Climate change warms ‘invisible ecosystems’ and transports pathogens to new areas

The total number of species considered by scientists – 86,592 represents 25% of the world’s vascular plants. While this suggests there’s still a lot we don’t know about plant species, it certainly points to an alarming need to reinvigorate conservation efforts.

office plant
Wikimedia Commons

What do you think of this important loss that the Earth will suffer? Let us know in the comments below. For more in the world of Technology and Sciencekeep reading

The references

Kress, WJ and Krupnick, Georgia (2022). Lords of the biosphere: winning and losing plants of the Anthropocene. PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET.

Quaglia, S. (2022, March 10). Plants that humans don’t need are on the verge of extinction, study finds. The Guardian.


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