Category Archives: Endangered Plants

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Watching The Lights Go Out On Extinct Species: The Botanist’s Burden

Let’s say for 20 years you’ve been observing a tree on a fern-covered crag thousands of feet above sea level on an island in the Pacific. Then one day you hike up to check on the plant and find it dying. You know it’s the last one of its species, and that you’re the only witness to the end of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, the snuffing out of a line of completely unique genetic material. You might have to sit down and write a poem. Or at least bring a bit of the dead plant to a bar and raise a beer to its life. (Click on title for full story.)

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What Happens After Invasive Plants Are Eradicated? It Will Never Be The Same

By the end of the three years of the study, the plant community in the plots where stiltgrass had been removed had diverged even further from the community present in the plots that had never been invaded at all (and from the ones were stiltgrass was allowed to remain). In other words, when the invaders left, the place changed even more than before. (Click on title for full story.)

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Extinct Plant Comes Back From Oblivion To Stop A Development Project

“As far as we understand, the hibbertia was found on the project site in October last year and was the first time it had been seen since 1823. The planning assessment commission then approved the development in December – but wasn’t provided with any information about this newly rediscovered threatened species,” (Click on title for full story.)

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Devastated Rain Forests Aren’t Just Going To Restore Themselves

The results of the research have implications for the restoration of rainforests: “It is highly unlikely that the tree species we studied is able to recolonise cleared patches in a fragmented habitat by natural seed dispersal alone,” says Kettle. He adds that the same applies to other endangered species of tropical tree with large fruit and seeds dispersed by birds, as evidence from other fragmented tropical forests around the world shows that seeds of this kind are dispersed only locally. “For rainforest restoration projects to be successful, you have to give special attention to these trees,” says Kettle. “If you want to encourage them to spread, the only option is to collect their seeds, set up tree nurseries and then actively plant out the saplings at a later stage.” (Click on title for full story.)

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A Successful Strategy To Control Asian Longhorned Beetle Infestation

The Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is one of the 10 most dangerous quarantine pests in the world. More than 30 ALB infestations have been reported in eight European countries to date; six of these infestations have now been eradicated. In most cases, it took more than 10 years to wipe out the beetle population in large outdoor infestations. The pest has killed millions of poplar trees in China. Winterthur (Switzerland) has recently shown that it is possible, however, to eradicate even large outdoor infestations within the statutory minimum period of four years. This requires decisive action right at the start of an outbreak, because only the best and most experienced people on the ground can isolate the infested area in the first year. (Click on title for full story.)

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Are Coconut Palms Doomed?

In this day and age, coconuts seem to be, somehow, everything at once. You can buy oil from coconuts—not to be confused with butter from coconuts—and flour and sugar and milk and aminos and vinegar from coconuts. The coconut market is booming. But the long-term outlook for coconuts? Not as good. In the Caribbean, bacteria that cause lethal yellowing are wiping out coconut trees (Click on title for full story).

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Newly Discovered Parasitic Orchid Is A Rarity Among Rarities. And None Are Protected

A number of mycoheterotrophic species have recently been discovered in Yakushima, from Oxygyne yamashitae in 2008, Gastrodia uraiensis in 2015, and this year Sciaphila yakushimensis and Lecanorchis tabugawaensis. These discoveries are evidence of the abundant ecosystems supported by Yakushima’s primeval forests. However, when most people think of Yakushima, their attention is first drawn by the Jomon cedars 500 meters above sea level, and the value of the lowland laurel forests is not widely known. The Tabugawa area where this new endangered species was discovered is not a national park or a world heritage site – it is an unprotected area where logging is permitted. Cedar logging is taking place nearby, and there are concerns that this could dry out the area, changing the mycoflora and creating an inhospitable environment. (Click on title for full story.)

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Garden Unkowingly Saves “Extinct” Tree

Such a discovery when the trees in question are just shy of 100ft and in plain sight does sound rather odd. (Click on title for full story.)

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Fragrant Incense Trees Endangered By Poachers Seeking Riches

Very few incense trees form agarwood, so they are often destroyed indiscriminately. On Lamma, a plaque marks a spot where three young trees were uprooted. A short scramble up a steep slope reveals a gorier scene: splintered woodchips are all that remain of an aged tree. Mr Yeung, the beekeeper, says “hunters” felled and butchered it in situ. As supplies diminish, the gangs are becoming more desperate. Thieves are raiding private gardens; some residents have begun organising patrols to frighten the thieves away. Alarms and monitoring cameras are being installed. (Click on title for full story.)

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The Most Unusual Plant You Never Heard Of Is Disappearing. And So Is Its Habitat.

“They’re the canary in the coal mine, If they disappear, there is something wrong. And they have disappeared.” Not only the lake balls, but most of the algal mat at the foundation of the lake food web—all victims of the encroaching scum. (Click on title for full story.)