Strange Endangered Trees (2)

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Strange Endangered Trees

(Image viaeasyweb)We live in a time some experts are calling the last great land grab. In order to sustain the rapidly growing population of the world in the coming years, millions of acres of forest will need to be converted to other uses unless we come up with smarter solutions. With global warming on the rise, forests are more valuable than ever as vital carbon sinks. The twin threats of global warming and deforestation threatens many geographically distinct and ecologically important trees. Here are just a few.Baobob Tree

(Images viapbase, to equatorial Africa and India, and most famous for covering much of Madagascar, the distinctivebaobob treeis increasingly threatened. This tree is leafless nine months of the year and stores water in its trunk much like a camel. People make homes in the base, and the tree also produces an edible fruit called the monkeyfruit.Monkey Puzzle Tree

This unusual evergreen tree, native to the threatened forests of Chile, is so ancient it is considered a living fossil. It has triangular, spiky, sharp leaves and bears large cones. It is considered the national tree of Chile. Due to its memorable, tail-like appearance, themonkey puzzle treeis popularly cultivated in yards around the world.Dragon Tree

(Image viaofspiritandsoul)The dragon tree pictured above is over 2,000 years old. Thedragon treegenus contains 40 different species, many of which are popularly cultivated. Some are quite small, but the most famous are the large dragon tree pictured. They are native to Africa, though a few species are found elsewhere.Bois DentelleThis beautiful, delicate tree is exceedingly rare: there are only twobois dentelletrees that remain in existence. The pair is located in the cloud forest of Mauritius. Though it has no commercial value, it is nearextinctionbecause the cloud forest habitat has been severely damaged by alien invasive species. The bois dentelle produces beautiful sprays of delicate hanging white flowers.CorkThe cork is actually a type of oak. From this article onendangered forests: The odd and distinctivecork bark forestof the Mediterranean is a case where industry actually preserves this uniquebiome. In fact, the advent of the screw-top wine stopper is the cork bark forests greatest threat. Experts say we will lose cork forests in the next decade if the wine industry continues to turn to alternative corks.Cork oaksare really fascinating; they can be shorn, much like sheep, for many years with proper maintenance. Without market incentive, though, these forests may fall into disrepair or be cleared all together.Bizarre Endangered Plants

(Images viacosleyhouston,traveljournalandmockturtle29)With the prevalent deforestation of the planets woodlands, many fascinating and rare plant species are being destroyed before scientists have the ability to determine if there is, for example, important medicinal value. According to the Encyclopedia of Earth, over8,000 plant species worldwideare officially threatened or endangered. Between one-fourth and one-half of all plants are at some risk. The combination of global warming and habitat destruction is formidable. Though there are thousands of interesting, diverse and unusual plants, here are a few particularly odd species that need protection. Especially when you consider that our planet may be the only one whereplants are green!Venus Fly Trap

(Images viamooseyscountrygardenandwikimedia)It seems like everyone did a report on this insect-eating mini monster back in grade school. The carnivorousvenus fly trapmay be famous, but its also threatened. The plants two hinged leaves are covered in ultra sensitive fine hairs that detect the presence of everything from ants to arachnids. Trigger the hairs and snap! Lunch for the Venus Fly Trap.Baseball Plant

(Image vialiangjinjian)This incredibly popular house plant is virtually extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction and the botanical equivalent of poaching. Its sap is poisonous, but it does make an attractive yard ornament. Unfortunately humans have not balanced their desire to grow thebaseball plantin their gardens with the need to preserve natural populations of the plant.Green Pitcher Plant

(Images viahomeschoolbloggerandFWS)Another carnivorous plant, the uniquegreen pitcher plantis endangered. Actually an herb, this insect-eating plant is native to Georgia, South Carolina and other parts of the southern United States, but due to land development its habitat is threatened and the pitcher plant may be lost if protection is not put in place. They are known to grow in stands, almost like little tree groves. There are actually several types of pitcher plants, some brilliantly colored and reminiscent of, wellclickto see. But all use the same techniques and tools to lure and trap insects.Welwitschia Mirabilis

(Images viaHamburg UniversityandAdventure Rider)This odd plant stumped taxonomists for years. A desert plant found in South Africa, the thickwelwitschia mirabilisgenerally possesses only two leaves, but these leaves curl and tangle as the plant grows (it often lives over 1,000 years) and becomes a jumbled, tough mass spanning 6 feet or more.