Reversing Tree Diversity Decline: Why We Need All the Species We’ve Got
17 November 2022
In the Curepipe Botanic Gardens on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius lives the loneliest tree in the world. Propped up by scaffolding, with drooping leaves and a scarred trunk, the ailing 150-year-old palm is the world’s last known specimen of Hyophorbe amaricaulis. To date, no one’s been able to propagate it, so when it dies, that’s the end of the species.
While it might well be lonely, the tree is by no means alone in its predicament. Last year's State of the World's Trees report found that of the more than 60,000 known tree species, at least 17,500 are threatened with extinction, with 440 species down to fewer than 50 individuals left in the wild.
According to a new report, 'Conserving and using tree diversity for global climate change adaptation and food system resilience’, this dwindling of tree diversity is damaging to our planet's ecosystems – and ourselves – and constrains options for successful adaptation to the changing climate. We can prepare ourselves far more effectively for today’s challenges and those to come -- but we’ll need trees to do it.
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