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Taxonomists have described roughly 297,500 plant species.Based on this development, mathematical models predict that roughly 15 percent more plant species exist than are currently known, for a total of some 350,000 species – a figure that is consistent with expert opinion.First, most species have very small geographical ranges and are uncommon locally.Second, the number of species found in any one habitat varies considerably. Given that most plants that are currently threatened with extinction – 20 percent of known species, and probably 30 percent of all species – fall within this category, efforts to preserve plant biodiversity should emphasize such concentrations of small-range species.The CBD's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity calls for the formal protection of at least 17 percent of the most ecologically important terrestrial areas, while the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation seeks to protect 60 percent of plant species. Given that some 67 percent of plant species live entirely within the selected areas, and an additional 14 percent live partly in these areas, this approach is highly promising.
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