Mongabay: New assessment method finds close to one-third of tropical Africa’s plants are potentially facing extinction

Mongabay: New assessment method finds close to one-third of tropical Africa’s plants are potentially facing extinction . “New research finds that nearly one-third — 31.7 percent — of tropical Africa’s vascular plant species might be at risk of going extinct. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is the go-to resource for conservation status assessments, but while the majority of vertebrate species have been assessed, we know far less about the conservation status of plants, especially in the tropics.”

EurekAlert: Putting a conservation finger on the internet’s pulse

EurekAlert: Putting a conservation finger on the internet’s pulse. “Scientists from the University of Helsinki have figured out how to mine people’s online reactions to endangered animals and plants, so that they can reduce the chance of pushing species toward extinction.”

Science Daily: Tropical trees in the Andes are moving up — toward extinction

Science Daily: Tropical trees in the Andes are moving up — toward extinction. “… UM researchers joined forces with 18 other researchers from around the world to create a new database that tracks the livelihoods of thousands of highland trees in 186 plots of land situated throughout what is known as the Tropical Andes Biodiversity Hotspot. Sitting at elevations from 300 to over 3,000 meters above sea level, most of the plots are about the size of an American football field and have been inventoried multiple times over the past couple decades. Collectively, these forest plots contain an astonishing diversity — a total of 120 different plant families, 528 genera, and more than 2,000 tree species.”

Design Week: Redesigning the biggest list of endangered species in the world

Design Week: Redesigning the biggest list of endangered species in the world. “The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, an exhaustive online database of animals, plants and fungi that are at risk of extinction, has been given a new website in a bid to engage more people in conservation and make finding crucial information easier.”

IFLScience: How Twitter Helped Find, And Possibly Save, An Endangered Plant

IFLScience: How Twitter Helped Find, And Possibly Save, An Endangered Plant. “There’s nothing Internet users like better than correcting an expert they think is wrong. So when botanist Professor Chris Martine of Bucknell University put the wrong name on a plant he’d photographed, it got a swift response. In the end, it led to the discovery of an unexpected population of one of America’s rarest plants, and a chance to protect something that otherwise might have been lost.”

Conde Nast Traveler: A Grove of Redwood Trees Is Being Ruined by Social Media

Conde Nast Traveler: A Grove of Redwood Trees Is Being Ruined by Social Media. “Located in Jedediah Smith State Park, about nine miles east of Crescent City near the border of Oregon and California, the ‘Grove of Titans’ is reportedly the largest community of redwood trees ever discovered. It’s lesser known than other California redwoods, like those in Big Basin and Humboldt State Parks, but what makes it extra-appealing is its unmarked location north of the park’s trail. The researchers who discovered the grove in 1998 kept its exact spot a secret, so tourists who went in search of the area found it through unofficial park sources, like Google maps. A few years ago, someone posted a photo of the grove on social media with its GPS coordinates, drawing in thousands of tourists to look for the spot.”

Unnatural Surveillance: How Online Data Is Putting Species at Risk (Yale)

Yale Environment 360: Unnatural Surveillance: How Online Data Is Putting Species at Risk. “The burgeoning pools of digital data from electronic tags, online scientific publications, ‘citizen science’ databases and the like – which have been an extraordinary boon to researchers and conservationists – can easily be misused by poachers and illegal collectors. Although a handful of scientists have recently raised concerns about it, the problem is so far poorly understood.”

New York Times: Irreplaceable Plant Specimens an ‘Obscene’ Loss After Being Incinerated in Quarantine Flub

New York Times: Irreplaceable Plant Specimens an ‘Obscene’ Loss After Being Incinerated in Quarantine Flub. “Around the world, specimens of plants mounted on what are known as herbarium sheets are routinely lent among researchers and shipped with the care and protection of a jeweler sending an emerald necklace. So when a package of more than 100 specimens — some of them irreplaceable and rich in scientific value — survived a 10,200-mile trip only to be mistakenly incinerated because of communication and paperwork mistakes, the plant research community was aghast.”

BGCI Launches New Database of Conservation Assessments for Plants (Over 240K of ‘Em)

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has launched a new Web site called ThreatSearch. “ThreatSearch is the most comprehensive database of conservation assessments of plants. It contains over 242,000 conservation assessments, representing over 150,000 taxa. ThreatSearch lists global, regional and national conservation assessments for plants, from a variety of sources. The aim is for ThreatSearch to be a one-stop shop to find conservation assessments for plants.”