November 9, 2016 Biodiversity No Comments
critically endangered species of trees in the world

When most people think of endangered species,

they think of species like big cats, elephants, or other large animals. However, the reality is that there are endangered species in almost every group of organisms, all the way from bacteria to plants to mammals. Here are the top ten most endangered trees in the world:

#1 Pennantia Baylisiana

This tree is possibly the rarest in the world, with just one known plant growing in the wild. It is endemic to the Three Kings Islands off the coast of New Zealand. The last remaining specimen is located on a scree slope in the north of the Great Island¹.

#2 Bois Dentelle

The Bois Dentelle certainly competes for the title of the world’s rarest tree. There are two known specimens remaining in the wild. Both of these are found in the cloud forest of Mauritius. They are threatened by competition from alien species, including the commercially grown Guava. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has taken steps to ensure the survival of the species, and have begun to grow seedlings in a nursery².

#3 Dragon Tree

Although this tree was widespread in ancient times, it has slowly but surely become rarer and rarer in recent times. It is currently found in Morocco, Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and some of the Canary Islands. The main threats to the Dragon Tree are bushfires and animals like rabbits and goats eating the seedlings, preventing populations from regenerating³.

#4 African Baobab Tree

The iconic Baobab tree faces ever increasing threats due to climate change and human influences. They are losing habitat rapidly as people clear forests for farmland and fuel. The most threatened of the African Baobabs is A. perrieri, which has just 99 known trees remaining. They are threatened by a shrinking habitat, and conservation efforts need to increase to ensure their survival.

#5 Monkey Puzzle

Although the Monkey Puzzle is Chile’s national tree, things like fires, grazing, and excessive logging have decimated its numbers. It is native to Chile and Argentina, and produces a very high quality timber (unfortunately). It can grow to around 40 meters high (130 feet), which makes it attractive to loggers and tree harvesters. The harvested timber is often used for things like bridges, boats, and building structures due to the fact that a long, straight, and strong piece of wood can be obtained.

#6 African Blackwood

Although the African Blackwood is still relatively common, its numbers are rapidly decreasing. It prefers rocky and infertile soil, and lives for up to 200 years. It is threatened by the illegal timber trade, as it is one of the most beautiful and sought after timbers in the world. Although it exists in 26 different African countries, it will start to disappear in the near future if action isn’t taken.

#7 Saint Helena Gumwood

Although this was once the most common tree in Saint Helena, the colonial influence since the island was settled by the East India Company has destroyed its populations. The tree was almost wiped off the island through use for fuel and building materials. The population was further reduced in 1991 when the Jacaranda bug arrived, killing trees and promoting fungal diseases.

#8 Honduras Rosewood

Found in Belize, Guatemala, and Southern Mexico, the Honduras Rosewood is  threatened by heavy logging and habitat loss. It has a unique purple colour, which makes it a very highly regarded timber. The populations have suffered the most in Belize, where slash-and-burn agriculture is all too common³.

#9 Clanwilliam Cedar

Although this is one of the most iconic trees in South Africa, it has become endangered due largely to its huge lifespan and slow regeneration. It can live for around 1000 years, and won’t produce seeds until it is at least 30 years old. It is also logged, due to the fact that it is relatively tall and gives high quality wood³.

#10 Loulu

The Loulu is one of Hawaii’s most iconic trees, but is almost extinct in the wild. Apparently, there are only 300 remaining wild specimens. However, there is little danger of the species becoming completely extinct due to the fact that it is easily grown in nurseries, and is a popular garden plant³.

 


References

¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennantia_baylisiana
² http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-last-two-bois-dentelle-trees
³ http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-endangered-trees.php
https://awkwardbotany.com/2013/11/04/baobab-trees-facing-extinction/
https://goo.gl/1kELuW
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalbergia_melanoxylon#Conservation

Written by Greentumble Editorial Team