How many plant species go extinct every year?



  1. 0 Votes

    Good question.  Nobody seems to care about extinction of plants, I guess they don’t have the appeal of a tiger or panda. 

    I could not find any solid data on how many plants we are losing in a given year.  These figures are likely hard to come up with because it is hard to say exactly when something is definitely extinct, and there are many species we have not yet discovered.  However, I can tell you that in the last 5 centuries (as of 2009) we have lost 869 species (not just plants) since 1500.  This was a change from 784 listed as extinct in 2004.  This is an additional 85 speces in just 5 years. 

    The IUCN lists 12,151 plant species on the red list and 8,500 of those are threatened with extinction (about 49% of the total species in that category).  They state that 114 plant species are extinct, at least in the wild. 

    So, to put these numbers together, I would estimate that in a given year, taking the most recent loss rates of about 17 species per year between 2004-2009, we would lose about 8-9 species of plants in a year.  Granted these are my estimations based on numbers from different sources, but hopefully that gives you an idea.

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