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Growing an Endangered Plants Network

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Originally appears in the Summer 2007 issue

IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS North America, threats to plants are at a record level. In the United States, 29 percent of the estimated 20,000 species of native plants

species. Plants are particularly vulnerable because, being sessile, they cannot migrate quickly when their habitat is destroyed or degraded, or when alien species out-compete them in their natural ranges, or when they are unable to adapt to altered environmental conditions such as those are considered rare and at risk of extinction,1 and only 5 associated with climate change. Instead, a plant’s only percent of the ancient forests remain. Of the 3,300 native vascular plant species identified in Canada, about 1,000 are listed as rare and 214 are considered to be endangered.2 Worldwide, it is estimated that up to 100,000 plant species, representing nearly one-third of the Earth’s plant kingdom, are currently threatened or face extinction in the wild.3

While extinction has been a natural occurrence throughout Earth’s history, scientists estimate that the current extinction rate in plants is 100 times the natural rate and seven times the rate of extinction among animal means of survival is through reproduction, sending out seeds or root runners in hopes of securing its future.

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Jennifer Ceska is the Conservation Coordinator and Anne Shenk is the Director of Education at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. For more information about The Endangered Plant Stewardship Network, visit the website at <www.espn.org>.