Sampled Red List Index for Plants

A staghorn growns from a tree truck in tropical forest

Image by Andrew Bower/Shutterstock

One in five plants are threatened with extinction

The Sampled Red List Index for Plants accurately assesses plant extinction risk

The Plants Under Pressure team at the Museum assesses plant extinction risk by selecting a random sample of plant species from all major plant lineages. We then assess these plants against the IUCN Red List Criteria to produce a Sampled Red List Index (SRLI) for Plants.

Plants provide the support systems for all life on Earth. Declines in plant biodiversity are detrimental for all other species. 

It's hard to measure the decline in plant biodiversity as there are many plant species still to be discovered and the details of plant extinction risk are not well understood, particularly in the most remote parts of the world. 

To account for these unknowns, we select plant species at random for assessment and have adopted the Sampled Red List Index (SRLI) for Plants as an indicator to communicate a high-level overview of plant extinction risk in a country or area. 

We have found that almost two thirds of global plant species are Least Concern (LC), but more than one in five are threatened with extinction, either Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN) or Critically Endangered (CR).

The Sampled Red List Index (SRLI) for Plants is measured over large timescales and geographical extents and compliments other biodiversity indicators, such as the Biodiversity Intactness Index.


Biodiversity indicators

Biodiversity indicators are important tools for understanding, monitoring and communicating complex biodiversity data.