People, Environment

30% of Plant Species Threatened

30% of Plant Species Threatened30% of Plant Species Threatened

Out of the 8,000 known plant species in Iran, 2,405—or 30%—are under threat, said an official at the Natural History and Biological Resources Office at the Department of Environment.

“About 1,727 species are endemic to Iran,” Maryam Moqanlou was quoted by ISNA as saying.

Moqanlou categorized the threats into natural and manmade causes. Natural factors include climate change, drought, storms and floods, while manmade causes include excessive industrial activity, overgrazing and overuse of pesticides, among others.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 20 of the 2,405 plant species are critically endangered and facing extinction, while 431 are classified as vulnerable.

The official emphasized on “the key role of local communities” in the protection of plants and encouraged people to “grow plants to curb overharvesting of threatened species”.

It has to be noted that the total number of plant species in Iran as cited by Moqanlou contradicts earlier claims by Hossein Aqakhani, a professor of botany at the University of Tehran.

Citing the 179-volume Flora Iranica, published in 1963, Aqakhani was quoted by the Persian daily Hamshahri as saying that figure was closer to 7,300 species.