Thousands of plant species are being pushed to the brink of extinction by global warming, and those already at the extremes are in the greatest danger, a leading botanist said on Tuesday.
Paul Smith, head of Britain's Millennium Seed Bank, said the drylands of the world, which cover 40% of the earth's surface and are home to more than one-third of the population, faced the bleakest future.
"In the southern hemisphere the plants can either go up or south. But in South Africa's Cape they can't do either, so the 8,000 unique species of fijnbos (indigenous vegetation) there are a real worry," he told Reuters on a visit to London's Kew Gardens.
But it is not just in the southern hemisphere that climate change is creating radical changes in the environment, as warm weather expends steadily northwards, bringing with it new species and threatening the local vegetation.
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