Half of all Amazonian tree species may be globally threatened

More than half of all tree species in the world’s most diverse forest – the Amazon – may be globally threatened, according to a new study.

But the study, published in the journal Science Advances, also suggests that Amazonian parks, reserves and indigenous territories will protect most of the threatened species, if properly managed.

The findings were announced by a research team comprising 158 researchers from 21 countries, led by Dr Hans ter Steege of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands and Dr Nigel Pitman of the Field Museum in Chicago, USA. The pan-Amazon RAINFOR network contributed hundreds of high quality forest monitoring plots to the effort, with more than 30 RAINFOR colleagues from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana, and Bolivia all involved in the work.

Professor Oliver Phillips, from the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, said: «To put the threat to Amazon diversity in context, this unprecedented analysis shows that for each tree species found in the British Isles, there are now up to one hundred and seventy threatened in the Amazon.»

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