Letter to Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt
14 January 1999
Dear Secretary Babbitt:
It is with a strong sense of responsibility that we provide you with a copy of The 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre, working with an international team of researchers, compiled this first-ever global plant assessment to support plant conservation and to serve as a resource for further research on plant species and communities throughout the world. We trust that this book, a culmination of 125 person-years of effort, will be a useful tool in assisting the U.S. Department of the Interior to meet its conservation mission.
In total, over 33,000 plant species worldwide are considered at risk, fully 12.5% of the known vascular plants of the world. The Red List points to four alarming conclusions concerning U.S. native plants:
The Red List shows some cause for hope: only 395 of the world’s estimated 270,000 higher plant species are believed to be truly extinct. Thus, for the vast majority of threatened plants it is not too late – with timely intervention, these invaluable resources can be saved. The Native Plant Conservation Initiative pledges itself – and its 129 cooperating organizations – to work together effectively to halt and reverse these disturbing losses.
The Native Plant Conservation Initiative appreciates and acknowledges
the conservation leadership and commitment of the United States and this
Administration. We look forward to strengthening our ties with you as we
work together to prevent further plant extinction and ensure the continued
existence of this nation’s rich and unique flora.
Chair, Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee
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