Some of the world’s most threatened plant species are in need of assistance from botanists, horticulturists and other conservationists to safeguard their own survival and that of their natural environments.
Islands are home to one in six of all plant species, with many species found only on one island. Many are severely threatened. The seeds of the problems that island biodiversity now faces arrived with the first settlers. Vigorous crops and ornamental plants escaped into the wild and stifled native species. Goats and cattle stripped huge tracts of vegetation. Forests and scrublands were cleared for timber or to make way for farms or, nowadays, for tourist resorts.
Other rare plant species remain to be discovered in ‘islands’ not isolated by water, but in hidden valleys or remnant patches of ancient habitat surrounded by a sea of modified landscape.
In an increasingly fragmented world, these islands of natural habitat and associated species represent our biodiversity treasure for the future. They need our help now.
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