One third of tropical plants in Western Africa are at risk of extinction


According to a recent assessment carried out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a third of tropical plants in Africa are at risk of extinction. This includes plants in rainforest areas located in Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and certain regions in Western Africa due to unbalanced human activity. Findings from the evaluation were recorded on the Red List, created by the IUCN earlier this year. The results stated that areas in Western Africa are expected to lose 40% of their plants and 7000 different speciesbecause of inappropriate land usage, such as deforestation. The Guardian’s website reported on this investigation and stated that 17% of the plant species in tropical Africa will become extinct if human activity continues at its current rate and another 14% of plants have a high chance of extinction in the near future.


Trees, shrubs, herbs and woody vines are only some of the many plants that have already been affected.  Various species of plants have been affected due the increasing amount of human activities ranging from logging, agriculture, mining, land usage, and factors such as economic development. Furthermore, population growth and climate change have all contributed as threats and will continue to do so if not stopped. The extinction of these plants is concerning for many reasons; firstly, it creates a domino effect leading to the extinction of various animal species as they rely on these plants for food and nutrition. Secondly, certain medicinal ingredients come from numerous of the affected plants and, finally, plants are necessary for their provision of oxygen and food for ecosystems. Losing ecosystems could affect aquatic and land life for organisms and, concerning human socio-economic factors, create high levels of poverty. Social and political issues could occur within and between various regions due to food insecurity. Therefore, this recent study has sounded a desperate alarm and caused concern within many countries and environmental organisations.


As a consequence of this devastating loss of plants, Ethiopia has responded to the issues of climate change and its effects on the Ethiopian environment by planting over 350 million trees in one day. This is believed to be a world record. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the leader of this strategy, introduced this program as part of his Green Legacy Initiative which took place in various locations across the country. The aim of this project is to plant four billion indigenous trees.  This is an invaluable approach heading in the right direction to offer realistic solutions for this current global problem and other country leaders should take notice and implement similar initiatives.



Briggs, Helen. “A Third of Tropical African Plants Face Extinction.” BBC News. BBC, November 21, 2019.

Davis, Nicola. “One-Third of Tropical African Plant Species at Risk of Extinction – Study.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, November 20, 2019.

“Ethiopia ‘Breaks’ Tree-Planting Record to Tackle Climate Change.” BBC News. BBC, July 29, 2019.