Many believe only animals are endangered. They think wild plants can just grow back after damage. Our native plants are declining at an alarming rate. Among them are some of the most beautiful and useful species on Earth. The implications of this trend are stunning. The importance of plants to life on Earth is immeasurable. The landscape and wildlife we cherish, the food we eat, even the very air we breathe is connected to plant life.
Plants support wildlife. For every plant species that goes extinct, up to 30 other species of plants, insects and other animals may also decline. Plants provide the food and habitat for wildlife, from birds and butterflies, to antelope and field mice!
Plants support a healthy environment. They provide clean air, help hold soil in place, clean water, moderate wind and water impacts, and shade the earth.
Plants support people. Plants give many gifts to man. They provide food, fiber, fuels, pharmaceuticals, ornamentals and fragrance. Many of our native plants are known to contain chemicals that can be used to treat human illnesses. Others have the ability to fight agricultural pests and improve existing crops. Even more economic and scientific treasures await discovery. Each species is a potential natural resource.
This is a real crisis. Habitat destruction, invasive foreign plants and animals, over collection, and other environmental damage are eroding our natural plant communities. Some species have declined to such small numbers that a bad storm or a plant collector could wipe them out in minutes. Without intervention they will be lost forever.
The vegetation of India comprises some 15,000 species of plants. The jungles are thick and wooded with the flora to back up the fabulous fauna. Evergreen forests in the north-east and along the Western Ghats, moist and dry deciduous forests of the plains, swampy marshes of Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, pinewoods of the Himalayan foothills and the lagoons and estuaries down south - each pave for a different ecosystem, sheltering unique forms of plant and animal life