Wild Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations Require Conservation and Reintroduction in China
China is exceptionally rich in biodiversity, with more than 30000 vascular plant species that include many endemic genera, species of ancient origin, and cultivated plants (Yang et al. 2005). Because of rapid economic development, population growth, pollution, and continuing resource exploitation, China’s plant diversity faces severe threats. According to the Chinese National Report on Biodiversity, 15–20% of the animal and plant species in China are now threatened. In the past 50years in China, about 200 species have become extinct, and about 4000–5000 vascular plants are currently endangered. China has 156 of the 640 species on the list of the ‘‘Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).’’ The first volume of the ‘‘China Plant Red Book’’ identified 388 rare and endangered species, including 121 endangered species, 110 rare species, and 157 vulnerable species. In 1999, the ‘‘National Key Protected Wild Plants’’ identified about 1700 rare and endangered plant species (Chinese State Report on Biodiversity Editorial Committee 1998).