Up to 16% of Native US Trees Face Extinction 

By Medscape Staff

November 15, 2022

Of the 881 native tree species in the contiguous United States, approximately 11%-16% face extinction, according to a new threat evaluation just completed as part of a Global Tree Assessment.

What to know:

  • Invasive and problematic pests and diseases are impacting the native tree species in the United States so much so that 11%-16% of them could face extinction.

  • The first comprehensive assessment of the trees found in the contiguous 48 states includes an updated checklist of native trees, finding 881 species from 269 genera as well as listing threat assessments and crosswalk methodology.

  • Oaks (genus Quercus) and hawthorns (genus Crataegus) dominate the tree flora of the US, with 85 and 84 native species that also include the most threatened species, including 17 that are not currently conserved in any non-natural collection and thus have no insurance policy against extinction.

  • Florida and Texas have the highest number of native tree species, with 342 and 321, respectively, with Florida and California having the highest number of threatened tree species, at 45 and 44, respectively.

  • The Global Tree Assessment aims to complete threat assessments for all the world's estimated 60,000 tree species and lay the groundwork for US tree and ecosystem conservation efforts that will contribute to achieving critical international conservation goals.

This is a summary of the article, "Data sharing for conservation: A standardized checklist of US native tree species and threat assessments to prioritize and coordinate action" published by Plants, People, Planet on August 22. The full article can be found on the Wiley Online Library.

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