Recent reports suggest that as many as one in five of the UK’s wild plant species are threatened with extinction, and the main cause of this is habitat loss as a direct consequence of human activity. This is a very saddening and worrying statistic since plants not only have great economic and cultural value to us as humans, they also play a vital role in the functioning of natural ecosystems and key ecological processes on which a vast number of other species depend.
It has often been assumed that, if given the space to do so, plants will simply look after themselves. While this may be the case for some common and more competitive species, which have the ability to persist in wide range of different conditions, it is becoming increasing clear that many of our rare and more specialised species require urgent conservation action to recover them from the highly isolated populations and unsuitable habitat conditions to which they have frequently become confined.
As the major driver behind the loss of biodiversity, whether through direct or indirect actions, we ultimately have the responsibility to do something about it before it’s too late.