, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 307–317 | Cite as

Quantifying anthropogenic threats to orchids using the IUCN Red List

  • Jenna Wraith
  • Catherine Pickering


Orchids are diverse, occur in a wide range of habitats and dominate threatened species lists, but which orchids are threatened, where and by what? Using the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, we assessed the range and diversity of threats to orchids globally including identifying four threat syndromes: (1) terrestrial orchids in forests that are endemic to a country and threatened by illegal collecting; (2) orchids threatened by climate change, pollution, transportation and disturbance/development for tourism, and recreation activities, often in East Asia; (3) epiphytic orchids in Sub-Saharan Africa including Madagascar with diverse threats; and (4) South and Southeast Asia orchids threatened by land clearing for shifting agriculture. Despite limitations in the Red List data, the results highlight how conservation efforts can focus on clusters of co-occurring threats in regions while remaining aware of the trifecta of broad threats from plant collecting, land clearing and climate change.


Conservation Global biodiversity Human impacts Illegal plant collection Threatened species 

Supplementary material

13280_2017_964_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (172 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 173 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith School of EnvironmentGriffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

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