One in ten of the world's tree species are facing extinction

TEN PER CENT of the world's tree species - including 11 types in the UK - are facing extinction, according to a report published today.

Uncontrollable forest fires, illegal logging and the expansion of human settlements are blamed for the demise, described after three years of study by conservation groups worldwide.

The project found that more than 8,750 of the world's 80,000 to 100,000 tree species are under threat. Almost 1,000 tree types are believed to be "critically endangered" and some species have been reduced to single figures. In Britain the most endangered species, of the Sorbus variety, is down to the teens and twenties in some areas, despite the growing success of a scheme backed by British retailers to use timber taken only from properly managed forests.

The report, carried out by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), will be launched at the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests in Geneva today, where delegates are tackling the growing crisis facing the world's forests.

Dr Steve Howard, head of the WWF's global forest and tree initiative, said yesterday: "With 77 species already extinct, this report has now confirmed our worst nightmare. The governments gathering this week must now realise the sense of urgency to increase forest protection, eliminate illegal logging and improve forest management."

Sarah Oldfield of the WCMC said: "We have found that threats to tree species are increasing and that unless conservation action is taken immediately, some species face certain extinction and many others will be joining the list of threatened trees."

Felling for timber and wood fuel, agriculture, expansion of human settlements and uncontrolled forest fires are among the factors threatening tree species, according to the report, which was funded by the Dutch government.

Environmentalists are urging people in Britain to ease the global crisis by buying only timber that the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has certified as coming from well- managed forests. The WWF has set up a business initiative with retailers in the UK who will sell wood only from approved sources.

"Retailers are getting together to do something about the problem. Members of the group source as much of their timber products as possible from FSC supplies,'' said Ed Matthew, a WWF spokesman.

He added: "The scheme is already proving to be a success. As demand for it has increased from retailers, more foresters from around the world are increasing the availability of FSC-approved timber.

"They are changing the way they manage these forests to ensure it complies with the standards. There are now 10 million hectares of FSC forest worldwide. It is really beginning to take off."

Researchers for the report - The World List of Threatened Trees - found that more than 75 per cent of threatened species are not subject to any conservation measures. Only 12 per cent are recorded in protected areas and only 8 per cent of species are known to be in cultivation.

The 11 species listed as threatened with extinction in the UK are all in the Sorbus group. The ones described as "critically endangered" include Ley's Whitebeam (Sorbus Leyana), with only 16 trees surviving in two sites in Breconshire, and the Sorbus Wilmottiana, which has been reduced to 20 trees in the Avon Gorge. Quarrying and log-felling are among the reasons blamed for their plight.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory