Life-saving plants at risk of extinction

Jan 20, 2008

Hundreds of plants used to produce more than 50 percent of the world's prescription drugs are at risk of becoming extinct, researchers say.

Members of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International blamed stockpiling and habitat loss for putting the plants at risk, the BBC reported Saturday.

Experts expressed fear that illnesses like cancer and AIDS could never be cured if the plants become extinct.

The study, conducted by a group representing botanic gardens in 120 countries, reviewed input from more than 600 affiliates and university specialists. It sited concerns about the extinction of 400 medical plants.

At the top of the list were the yew tree, hoodia, magnolia and autumn crocus.

"The loss of the world's medicinal plants may not always be at the forefront of the public consciousness," said report author Belinda Hawkins. "However, it is not an overstatement to say that if the precipitous decline of these species is not halted, it could destabilize the future of global healthcare."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Aging white lion euthanized at Ohio zoo

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Confucian thought and China's environmental dilemmas

Dec 18, 2014

Conventional wisdom holds that China - the world's most populous country - is an inveterate polluter, that it puts economic goals above conservation in every instance. So China's recent moves toward an apparent ...

DNA sheds light on why largest lemurs disappeared

Dec 16, 2014

Ancient DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of giant lemurs that lived thousands of years ago in Madagascar may help explain why the giant lemurs went extinct. It also explains what factors make some surviving ...

Fuel to the fire? Fuel exports soar under Obama

Dec 08, 2014

Solar panels glisten from every thatched hut on this crowded island, one of the largest in this remote chain off the Panamanian coast. But the tiny emblems of green energy offer no hope against climate change.

Recommended for you

A vegetarian carnivorous plant

Dec 19, 2014

Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Zen
not rated yet Jan 20, 2008
Not much information on a very serious problem.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.