IUCN Assessment Shows Extinction Threatens 58% of Europe’s Endemic Trees
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The ‘European Red List of Trees’ assesses the conservation status of the 454 tree species native to Europe and finds that 42% of trees regionally are threatened with extinction.

The assessment identifies invasive species, unsustainable logging and urban development as key threats to Europe’s tree species.

27 September 2019: In an assessment of the state of Europe’s biodiversity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) finds that 58% of endemic trees (those that exist only in this region) in Europe are threatened by extinction. The assessment aims to improve knowledge of the continent’s biodiversity and evaluate overlooked species for the European Red List.

The report titled, ‘European Red List of Trees,’ looks at the conservation status of the 454 tree species native to Europe and finds that 42% of trees regionally are threatened with extinction. Among Europe’s endemic trees, the assessment classifies 58% as threatened and 15% as critically endangered. The Sorbus genus, which includes the Crimean Rowan and the Mountain-ash, are particularly affected, with 75% of Europe’s 170 Sorbus species classified as threatened.

The assessment identifies invasive species, unsustainable logging and urban development as key threats to Europe’s tree species. The leaf-miner moth, for instance, is an invasive species that originated in the mountainous regions of the Balkans. It invaded the rest of Europe, damaging horse-chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum), which are now classified as vulnerable. Additional threats to Europe’s tree species include agriculture and climate change.

IUCN Red List Unit Head, Craig Hilton-Taylor said the European Red List assessment highlights the importance of both conserving these species and integrating them into “regular conservation planning and land management.” [IUCN Press Release] [Publication: European Red List of Trees]

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