Monday May 27, 2024

Half of UK native plants in decline: study

March 09, 2023

LONDON: Introduced species now make up the majority of plants growing in the wild in Britain, with more than half of natives estimated to be in decline, according to results of a 20-year study released on Wednesday.

Change in land use, particularly “the intensification of arable cultivation,” has been the main driver of change, according to the “Plant Atlas 2020” study undertaken by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI).

The 20-year project is the most comprehensive ever undertaken on UK wild flora, with volunteers submitting over 26 million records including 3,445 different species.

Those included 1,692 that are native to the UK and 1,753 non-natives that have been deliberately or accidentally introduced into the wild by humans, the study said.

“This startling finding means that there are now more introduced plants growing in the wild in Britain than natives, with many originating from gardens and then spreading to establish self-sustaining populations,” it added.