Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Saving species: chapter 1

Humans need biodiversity to survive and thrive.

Clean water, food, medicines and cultural traditions are a handful of the numerous valuable services provided by the breadth of species that has evolved on Earth over billions of years. However, habitat destruction, alien invasive species, climate change and other human activities are weakening natural ecosystems, with one in five of the world’s vascular plants now threatened with extinction.
Once ecosystems become degraded and species populations decline, they are at greater risk from unpredictable natural disasters such as disease or floods. On top of that, we don’t yet fully understand the broader impacts of extinction on other species, because each species is part of an intricate web of ecological interactions.
Without human intervention, more and more threatened populations may quickly become extinct.

Re-introducing locally-extinct species can be an effective method of conserving plant diversity in the wild and enhancing environmental networks by restoring key pieces of the ecological puzzle. However, reintroductions are complex processes which must follow guidelines to maximise effectiveness and minimise risks to existing species populations and ecosystems.
Firstly, the former threat to the species must have been removed before a re-introduction is attempted. Otherwise, the species may once again struggle to survive. Seed or plants must then be made available from an appropriate source. Seed banks (including the Millennium Seed Bank) can play an important role here, conserving and using seed collections to restore plant species to sites where they have become extinct.

High-profile programmes such as Back from the Brink are instrumental in raising awareness of the threats facing biodiversity and in highlighting the key role the public plays in supporting species re-introductions and other conservation activity.

 

Sarah Pocock

UK Native Seed Hub Assistant

 

Would you like to help this incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *