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World

Scientists say the world's plants need saving

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Opening sequence

World

Scientists say the world's plants need saving

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COMING UP:Scientists say the world's plants need saving

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00:00:01
>> The major international report for the first time describing how the world's plants are bearing up. The study aims to become an annual audit of the planet's plant life, highlighting the global threats from climate change to habitat loss.>> This is just one example of the kind of biodiversity that we are at risk of losing.
00:00:21
I'm Reuters reporter Stuart McDill at Kew Gardens in London, where their snapshot of the state of the world's plants is not a happy picture. The report's taken 80 scientists a year to produce. For the first time ever, putting a figure on the number of plants on Earth. And revealing that 10% of the world's global land cover has changed in the last decade alone.
00:00:44
>> Professor Kathy Willis is Kew's Director of Science.>> We have to be pragmatic. I mean, people, we've got growing population size. People need food, they need places to live. So, the real thing we need to be doing is identifying which are the important areas to conserve, because of the incredible plant diversity they contain, and which areas we should be developing.
00:01:03
More than one plant in five is now described is at risk not from climate change but, from farming that lost of diversity creates new risks according to Steve Bachman a conservation specialist.>> If we completely clear the lands and have a kind of monoculture, what happens when a new plant disease emerges and wipes out the crops entirely.
00:01:24
There is some good news, the discovery of more than 2,000 new species every year. Dr. Tim Utrecht is in charge of naming new discoveries, and says this one, Drosera magnifica, a 1.5 meter tall fly catcher, turned up on Facebook.>> Bang on Facebook, something comes up. And then one of the experts goes, wait a minute, I've never seen that before.
00:01:44
>> So, they're able to then go and look for it and discover that it's new.>> One small cause for optimism in a generally pessimistic story.