Native plants.

Fire, disease, people: the native plants facing extinction – in pictures

Discover Australia’s threatened plant species, as well as their major threats

Alexandra Spring

Humans are devastating the world’s plants and causing a “frightening” number of extinctions, according to a global scientific survey of the issue. This is certainly the case in Australia, where plants make up 72% of the total threatened species list, with 1,308 listed species, and 370 species listed as critically endangered or endangered at a state level. This accelerating decline in the world’s biodiversity will have grave consequences for human society, according to the UN’s recent global assessment report.

In Australia, recent research by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub listed the 100 plants that are most at risk. Dr Jennifer Silcock from the University of Queensland said the list, published in the Australian Journal of Botany, showed the main threats were urbanisation, inappropriate fire regimes, introduced plant disease and habitat loss.

“The good news is that every one of the species on the list can be saved, we have the techniques required, we just need the commitment,” said co-researcher Dr Rod Fensham.

“The fate of these species depends upon support and action from governments and the community. A bonus will be that the actions required to save these species will also benefit many other vulnerable plant species.”


Research to identify the Australian plants at greatest risk of extinction was undertaken by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the federal government’s National Environmental Science Program.

gallery shows the types of plants at risk, the regions at risk and the major threats, with an example for each category.

Cockroach populations are rapidly evolving to become “almost impossible” to kill with chemicals alone, a team of US scientists said.
When cockroaches survive an insecticide treatment, they and their offspring quickly become “essentially immune” to it, a Purdue University study published in Scientific Reports found.

But crucially, they also develop immunity to a range of other insecticides, even if they were never exposed to them – something the scientists call “cross-resistance”.


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