Some of the world's rarest and most interesting medical plants are in danger of extinction. Pharmaceutical firms are cutting them for research purposes without assuring their continued survival. Population growth and the consequent increase in land under cultivation is threatening many plants. The destruction of forests and jungles is also endangering many species.
In most traditional medical systems, about 70-80% of the medicinal plants are wild collected.
Rosewood and sandalwood have two of the most popular scented essential oils. Some botanists have advocated not purchasing rosewood products because the tree is being decimated along the river corridors where it is harvested in Brazil. Others argue that the tree is not rare farther back in the forest. Sandalwood faces similar problems. Sandalwood is of concern because it takes so long to grow, and there was a big fire in 1997 in the sandalwood forests in India. Some companies claim to be using rosewood and sandlewood sustainably-grown and ethically-harvested.