chapter  7
17 Pages

Plants, Biodiversity and the Environment

Plants are fundamental to life on Earth. They play a key role in determining composition of the atmosphere and are the base of the food chain supporting other higher organisms. We have explored the key role of plants in food and fibre production and their growing potential for direct use for energy supply. Plant diversity provides food and habitat for a great diversity of insects, fungi and animals. Conserving plant biodiversity is central to conserving biological diversity on earth. However, the expansion of human populations has resulted in local and global reductions in biodiversity. Species extinction on a large scale has followed human population growth. Many more species are now endangered.