BEAST OF THE MOUNTAIN, NEW DELHI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As many as 70 percent of the world’s edible plants may be edible in the next five years, according to a new study.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature Plants, also finds that more than half of all edible plants have at least one species of flowering plant.
The findings, the first to assess the relative abundance of edible and non-edible species in different areas, provide a roadmap for how to plan and manage ecosystems and biodiversity in the coming years.
“We have known for a long time that edible plants are important, and this study shows how this may become a reality,” said study lead author, Professor Keshav Bhattacharya, from the University of British Columbia.
“But it was not always clear that edible species could also be non-endangered species, and we now know that this is true for many of the edible plants.”
The study also found that nearly half of the non-Edible species have only a single flowering plant in their range, and that the non, edible, and edible species are also often mixed together.
“This study demonstrates that edible and edible plants can coexist,” said lead author of the study, Dr. Andrew Wills, from Australia’s Griffith University.
“The world’s plants are more diverse than we previously thought.”
The researchers found that the number of edible species increased significantly from 2011 to 2020, when the world saw more than 6 million edible species.
However, this trend was not seen for non-fungal edible species, which were also declining.
The authors noted that the rise in non-flowered plants may also have been caused by a combination of environmental and economic factors.
“Many edible species were considered threatened by their lack of viability due to the introduction of pesticides, herbicides and greenhouse gas emissions,” said co-author Dr. Anjali Agrawal, from Griffith University’s Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (IEET).
“These findings provide a new perspective on how edible plants might be recovered in the future.
This study is an important step towards recovering these species in the wild, and it shows that we need to be careful in our management of these plants in the world.””
In terms of the future, we are in a great place to recover these edible species,” said Bhattacarya.
“This is because we have a very stable supply of edible plants and they are also available in sufficient quantities to support the global food supply.”
The new study also finds the number and diversity of non-native species decreased in the global edible and plant-eating regions.
The study found that while edible plants in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are growing, the number is decreasing in most of the major tropical areas of the planet, including South America, the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia.
“Although the majority of nonnative plants are found in Asia, the vast majority of edible plant species in Asia are not indigenous to Asia, but are found there,” said Agrawan.
The research also shows that the abundance of nonendangered edible plants has decreased since the 1990s, although this decline was less pronounced in Asia.
“As we recover more edible plants from the world, we will also need to recover nonendemic species,” Agrawa said.
“In the long term, we can achieve much more biodiversity in some regions.
This is because non-food plants are highly valued, and they will help provide the basis for sustainable food systems.
The future is looking bright.”
The team also found more than 70 percent, or more than 8 million, of the plants in a given region are edible.
The researchers estimate that by 2050, more than 2 billion edible plants could be available for the world to eat.
In addition to Agrawayas research, the team includes Dr. Rajendra Nair, of Oxford University, Drs.
Ankit Gupta, of Imperial College London and Nandan Kumar, from Wageningen University, as co-authors.
This research was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and the World Wildlife Fund.