Some plant species just go extinct without us noticing. We don't notice it because these plants are already very rare and there are only a few of them. We often lack the eye to recognize what distinguishes these plant species from other species. Sometimes the differences between plant species are hard to tell unless you are an expert. This is exactly why we want to draw your attention to the fact that many species of plants are threatened with extinction here in Germany. We present 5 reasons why plants are dying out.
1. Changes in soil
A change in the soil due to changing nutrient compositions can lead to certain sensitive plant species no longer being able to exist. The change in the nutrient composition in the soil can be caused, for example, by the fact that certain fertilizers are available in abundance and accumulate in the soil, which can change the soil climate. Another factor is human industry and fumes, which cause substances washed from the air by rain to accumulate in the soil and alter the soil. Many pesticides that are used not only eliminate the weeds on the fields, but also many other plant species, which then gradually disappear from our landscape.
2. Displacement by introduced species
Another important aspect, which is not of such great importance in Germany, is the displacement of native plants by introduced plants. Especially spatially delimited parts of the world such as islands have very vulnerable ecosystems, since the native flora is often not very competitive. Introduced plants often have an advantage, particularly in warm and humid climates, as they can cope with much more adverse conditions and accordingly exhibit excessive growth when conditions are favourable. As a result, the less competitive plants are pushed out. It is all the more important nowadays that plants or trees from other climatic areas are not simply planted or released into the wild. This phenomenon particularly affects areas populated to a greater extent by people from other areas, particularly the New World such as America and Australia. Several centuries ago, the settlers brought many farm animals and crops with them from their old homeland, which were fatal to the often sensitive local ecosystems.
3. Loss of habitat
Certain types of plants are displaced by agriculture, urban and road construction and other cultural landscapes. Species that have very specific requirements for their environment are often pushed out. If these are changed even slightly, they can no longer grow or multiply well. That is why it is important, before interfering with nature, to take a very close look at which species could be at risk of suffering from the intervention. Because the extinction of a plant usually also results in a reduced population size of certain insects or other microorganisms, the reduction of which in turn has an impact on other plant species.
4. Change in climate
The changes in the climate also have a major impact on the biodiversity of plants. Plants in general are highly adaptable creatures, but they need time to adapt to changing environmental conditions. As fast as climate change is currently progressing, many plants can adapt. Plant adaptation is an evolutionary process and like all processes, it takes a shorter or longer period of time. The time it takes a species to do this depends on the plant's reproductive cycle. Seen over the entire period of adaptation, short-lived plants are usually more adaptable than long-lived plants, since rapid propagation means more possibilities for changing the genetic information.
5. Passion for collecting
One factor that can be fatal to particularly rare and beautiful plants is people's passion for collecting and the good taste of herbivorous animals. Some plants that taste particularly good are eaten with pleasure by humans and animals and are therefore also readily collected. If this happens too often, the plant species can slowly disappear. Of course, this also applies to plants that are picked and collected for their beautiful flowers. The fewer specimens there are of a species, the less genetic diversity there is and the less well a species can adapt to changing environmental conditions. So if climate change and an already rare plant species come together, it is likely that this species can become extinct. So it's better to be careful what you pick on your next hike or excursion into the countryside and whether you should pick it at all.
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