A major UN meeting aimed at protecting the planet’s biodiversity is currently underway in Japan, so this week we decided to take an in depth look at the topic. First we speak with Dr Stephen Hopper who just released a report warning that 20% of the world’s plants are at risk of extinction. Then we hear about actor Edward Norton’s appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. And finally we head to Tanzania where researcher Carrie Seltzer talks to us about the biodiversity found in the world’s precious tropical forests. All that, plus your wrap of the week’s news headlines.
Plant Species at Risk
Think of all the flowers you can name. Add to that the fruits and vegetables, the trees and grains. Maybe you can think of 200 plant species, but in fact scientists estimate there are over a quarter million different species of plant on Earth. In our everyday lives, we are only exposed to a tiny fraction of all the world’s plants, but that treasure trove of diversity is in danger. The Sampled Red List Index for Plants was a vast global analysis undertaken to evaluate the extinction risk facing the world’s plants. Terra informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney spoke with Professor Stephen Hopper, one of the scientists involved in the large-scale study. Dr. Hopper is director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where we reached him in England.
Field report on biodiversity from East Africa
Some of the most biodiverse places on the planet are the tropical forests of South east Asia, South America and Africa. to get a sense of the value of these forests, Terra Informa made a visit to Tanzania, in East Africa. Here we found one scientist who spends her time studying the inner workings of the jungle here. Carrie Seltzer is a phd student from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Our correspondent followed Carrie on a night walk into the forest in search of bats and some wisdom on biodiversity. David Kaczan filed this report from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.