NEW DELHI (AP) — Environmental experts say a vast swath of Madagascar's unique palm tree species are threatened with extinction. Their dying out would harm the livelihoods of local people as well as endanger several animal species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature said Wednesday that the palms are an integral part of Madagascar's biodiversity. All of the 192 species assessed are unique to the island. The IUCN said 83 percent of the palms on the Indian Ocean island are at risk.
The finding by IUCN experts was part of an ongoing assessment of all palms. It was released at a biodiversity conference being held in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
The losses of habitat as well as harvesting of palm hearts are the major threats to the palm species in Madagascar.