Most of you might have thought of Africa or Asia having the largest plant species. Well, a new study has shown that Latin America has the largest, about twice the number of plant species, than Africa and South East Asia.
Latin America accounts for a third of the biological diversity in the world, the study in ‘Science Advances’ said. The study said that when Latin America had about 1,18,308 recorded species, the Afro Tropical region (which is equal in size to Latin America) only recorded about 56,451 plant species. South East Asia that has only a quarter the size of the two other regions, reported only about 50,000 plant species.
The study was done by researchers at Missouri Botanical Garden, Geneva Botanical Garden, the Université des Antilles in France, Florida International University and Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas in Brazil.
The data also showed that tropical Africa is comparatively even poorer in species, since 9582 of the species recorded in the Afrotropical Region occur only in Madagascar (587,000 km2), and 16,405 of the species occur only in Southern Africa (2,704,000 km2), with 41 species shared uniquely between Madagascar and Southern Africa.
The study also says that 173 new species on an average is added to the flora of the Afrotropical Region each year since 2008. Meanwhile, an average of 749 new species is added annually in Latin America and 364 species added in Southeast Asia.
Apart from the plant species, the researchers also compared animal diversity and found that Latin America was home to a third of terrestrial biodiversity.
The researchers also noted in the study that the future for most natural ecosystems looks dim with global population currently 7.8 billion, projected to increase to nearly 10 billion over the next 30 years, and the present consumption of natural productivity having reached around 175% of what is available sustainably.