Local News

Plant Species Declared Extinct At Alarming Rate

rainforest

A local researcher is hoping to stop any more plant species dying out, due to land clearing and climate change.

In the far north, three plant species have become extinct in the past decade, with a recent study showing 600 plant species have been lost worldwide in the past 250 years.

Professor Darren Crayn from the Australian Tropical Herbarium explains why the number of plants lost, is double that of other species.  "We do have a lot more plant species than we mammals or birds, using Australia as an example, there's only a few hundred species of mammals and birds nationally, whereas there are probably 25,000 species of plants" he said.  

The research has revealed that plant extinction is occurring up to 500 times faster than what would be expected naturally, that is, without human intervention.  

Professor Crayn said "we had about five species up here that we thought were extinct, they're listed as extinct in Federal legislation, interestingly we've rediscovered a couple of them in the last year, occasionally we have a good news story and we find something again that we thought was gone".

By Michelle Price