Earth Tree Scientists Warn Humanity!
From tall coast redwoods to dinosaur age pines and firs that make the perfect Christmas tree, our woody plants have a lot to offer.
It turns out that the extinction of some species will endanger not only local forests; Studies show that this will threaten entire ecosystems.
In 2021, the global assessment of The State of the World’s Trees found that a third of all tree species are currently teetering on the brink of existence and extinction. This amounts to about 17,500 unique tree species that are in danger of extinction.
This is more than double the number of endangered tetrapods (mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles). And some trees are so rare that only one known component is still present, such as the only palm tree in Mauritius, Hyophorbe amaricaulis.
In a follow-up study last year, the same researchers issued a “warning to humanity” of the consequences of these losses, backed up by testimony from 45 other scientists from 20 different countries.
Conservation biologist Malin Rivers of Botanic Gardens Conservation International and her colleagues show how these losses will affect our economy, our livelihoods and our food.
Most of our fruits, like many of our nuts and medicines, come from trees, and our non-timber commodity trade is US$88 billion.
In the developing world, 880 million people depend on wood for fuel, and 1.6 billion people live within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of a forest and depend on it for food and income.
Trees contribute about $1.3 trillion to the global economy every year, but we destroy billions of them every year, clearing vast tracts of land for agriculture and development. Each tree is their own little world, teeming with all sorts of unicellular and multicellular life forms, including plants, fungi, bacteria and other animals.
In fact, half of all animals and plants in the world depend on the habitat of trees.
“Habitat loss is often linked to the loss of trees, which is the basis for that when we consider animal or bird extinction issues,” Rivers said in an interview with Nature World News. “There’s no way to take care of all other creatures if we don’t look after trees.” “.
As with all living systems, the loss of diversity makes the whole mixture of living connections more vulnerable.
This is because less diversity means less diversity in immune response, genes, and environmental responses, which means lower chances of survival in the many threats of the complex web of interactions that constitute life on Earth.
Some types of trees provide unique interactions and cannot be replaced by others.
This includes the distinctive dragon’s blood trees (Dracaena cinnabari) left over from the ancient Oligocene forests, which are home to many other species entirely dependent on them, including many other plants.
Thus, the extinction of one species can cause a massive domino effect on everything else it interacts with, even if it is already rare. The species that depend on our dwindling forests have already declined by 53% since 1970, and more forests around the world are showing signs of increasing stress.
Trees intertwine with the earth’s soil, atmosphere and weather, purifying the air and producing oxygen. They store three-quarters of the world’s available fresh water and more than half of the problematic carbon dioxide.
And if we lose enough trees, our planet’s carbon, water and nutrient cycles will fall into chaos.
“We show that diversified forests store more carbon than monocultures,” Rivers said. “This applies to many ecological functions, not just carbon sequestration, but also providing habitat for animals, soil stabilization, resistance to pests and diseases, and ability to resist pests. storms and bad weather. The diversity of trees, we will also lose diversity in all living things: birds, animals, fungi, microorganisms and insects.
Some species of trees are so fortunate that they can benefit from the rapid environmental changes we have caused, such as invading land that has been cleared from fires. But more is eliminated by the same processes.
Much needs to be done to combat this on a collective level, but we can all play our part by recognizing the importance of trees.
The study was published in the journal Plants People Planet.
Source: Science Alert