Scientists Make First-Time Discovery After Assessing Nearly 5,000 Plant Species: 'The Number Came As A Shock'

According to a recent analysis by Brazilian scientists, the majority of endemic trees in the Atlantic Forest biome are in danger of extinction.

A total of 4,950 tree species were evaluated by researchers in the Atlantic Rainforest biome of Brazil. 82% of the 2,000 tree species that are endemic to the region (found nowhere else in the world) are threatened with extinction.

"The number came as a shock," according to Phys.org's corresponding author of the article, Renato Lima. "Forest availability was considered for each species, including factors such as the condition of the forest in terms of health.

The scientists assessed the level of peril by employing criteria established by the International Union for Conservation of Nature; as a result, the quantity of endangered species was significantly augmented.

The research presented a bleak outlook for the trees in the biome. Seventy-five percent of the imperiled species were categorized as endangered.

Certain species, including the emblematic brazilwood, were deemed to be in a critical endangered state; its population size is estimated to have decreased by 84% over the past three generations. Additionally, thirteen endemic species were identified as potentially extinct.

Furthermore, populations of some once-common species have decreased by at least fifty percent, including Paraná pine (which was frequently used to make furniture and flooring) and yerba mate (which was utilized in the production of tea).

Along the eastern coast of Brazil, the Atlantic Forest extends into Argentina and Paraguay. In Brazil, only about 12 percent of the original forest remains undisturbed.

Approximately 150 million people reside in the forest's surrounding region and rely on it for essential natural resources including potable water and unpolluted air. In addition to regulating global temperatures, forests safeguard us from climate catastrophes by sequestering carbon.

To begin, some excellent news has arrived in the Atlantic Forest. The authors of the study may have rediscovered five previously extinct species in the wild. The new information, according to them, can assist in influencing conservation and reforestation policies.

Already, several forest protection strategies have demonstrated their efficacy. In the early 2000s, for instance, policies implemented by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during his first two mandates reduced deforestation in the Amazon by 75%.

In the current month, he has slowed deforestation by over 60% during his third tenure in office. One of his strategies involves conducting assaults with the objective of evicting ranchers and loggers engaged in unauthorized deforestation.