Over the last few centuries, the world has gone from being overridden with plants and wildlife to us having to protect what is left. Nature is a beautiful thing with large varieties of unique lifeforms and should be protected and nurtured. Scientists have found that nearly 600 plant species have gone extinct and about 1 in 5 species are endangered. The number of plant varieties that have gone extinct in the past two and a half centuries is more than double the number of birds, mammals, and amphibians recorded as extinct. 435,000 unique species have been discovered and 36.5% of them are recorded as “exceedingly rare” which only inhabit a few select regions in our world.
Large masses of plants and wildlife are removed in order to make way for new cities, roads, towns, and housing. Deforestation is currently the biggest cause of plant and wildlife reduction which has made the world lose a third of its forests. Not only does deforestation drastically reduce the area in which plants have to live and thrive, but it is also detrimental to the wildlife that lived there. By taking away the forest life in that area, the soil erodes and floods because the trees retained the moisture and fertile topsoil that the rest of the forest needed to thrive. The soil erosion caused by deforestation makes the land barren and impossible to grow crops on, leaving it unusable for farmers by taking away the land in which plants grow, you drastically reduce the area in which they can spread their seeds and reduce the amount of genetic variation available. A lot of plants rely on animals to help them spread their seeds so by taking away the habitat in which those animals live and endangering them, the plant life that depends on them is also greatly affected.
Global warming is both benefiting plant species and harming them. Some species that do well with heat and a lack of nutrients in the soil are thriving, while most others that are more sensitive to the environment around them are suffering greatly. Around 40% of plant species are being threatened with extinction with the rise of climate change. With about 435,000 unique plant species counted as of 2019, 40% is a scary number of individual species. Scientists have classified 36.5% of species as “exceedingly rare” which means they have only been recorded less than 5 times. It has also been found that most of the exceedingly rare species are clustered in areas such as South America, South Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, and Costa Rica. Unfortunately, these areas are considered to be the most disrupted with both human interferences and with enhanced effects of climate change. Climate change is not only directly affecting plants, but also indirectly through their source of nutrients. With the planet warming, the soil is eroding faster because it can’t contain moisture for as long. Because the soil is drying up plants are straining to get the nutrients and liquid they need to survive
What you can do:
We can contribute to helping to reduce climate change by increasing our efforts to produce less waste. For example, you can switch to a source of renewable energy such as solar or wind power, use more energy-efficient items, reduce the amount of unused water you use in a day, and more. There is not a lot to do to directly make deforestation stop but there are things we can do to help slow the effect. We can donate to organizations that are working hard to plant more trees and maintain the plant life there, you can plant your own trees, and use less paper and products made from wood. These things may not seem like they would have a large impact but with many people doing them the impact can be very large in the long run.
If you have feedback or if there are interesting things you’ve done to help the environment share them in the comments.