More than half of the tree species that only grow in Europe are at risk of going extinct, according to a study published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Friday, September 27, 2019.
According to the Swiss-based organisation that keeps the global Red List of threatened species, the trees are under pressure from invasive pests and plants, excessive logging, and urban development.
The IUCN, however, looked at 454 tree species that grow in Europe. Among the 265 that does not exist on any other continent, 58 per cent faced a high, very high or extreme extinction risk.
The Head of the IUCN’s Red List unit, Craig Hilton-Taylor, advised that the EU and conservationists should be alarmed.
“Trees are essential of life, and European trees in all their diversity are a source of food and shelter for countless animal species such as birds and squirrels, and play a key economic role,” he said.
Taylor noted that the threatened species were the horse chestnut, the mountain ash and the Crimean rowan.
According to IUCN, the horse chestnut is being damaged by the leaf-miner moth, which has spread from Balkan Mountains to the rest of Europe.
Logging, forest fires and tourism added to the pressure.