The Vanishing Trees

BGCI reports 30% of the world's tree species threatened with extinction, 142 species declared extinct.

Planet Outlook
September 02, 2021
The Vanishing Trees

For the past five years, Global Tree Assessment has been undertaken intensive research to compile extinction risk information on the 58,497 tree species worldwide. We now know that 30% of tree species are threatened with extinction, and at least 142 tree species are recorded as extinct. The main threats to tree species are forest clearance and other forms of habitat loss, direct exploitation for timber and other products and the spread of invasive pests and diseases. Climate change is also having a clearly measurable impact.

The detailed tree species information used to compile this report is now available on the GlobalTree Portal (, a new major tool to support forestry, biodiversity conservation and climate change policy and action for tree species.

The Global Tree Assessment has been made possible over the past five years by a global network of over 60 institutional partners and over 500 experts. Find the full list of contributors in the report.

This report summarises the conservation measures already in place for tree species: over two-thirds of tree species are recorded in at least one protected area and about a third of tree species are found in botanic gardens or seed banks. Nevertheless, it calls for a new focus in planning and carrying out biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration, recognising the global importance of tree species. It identifies the regions where further action is needed. It provides recommendations for urgent action and calls for a new coalition to facilitate the resourcing and expertise required.

It is crucial that we use the information now available to manage, conserve and restore threatened tree species and tree diversity. This will prevent the extinction of trees and the associated plants, animals and fungi that depend on them, sustain livelihoods and ensure the ecological health of the planet.