Plants go extinct at a rate of two to three species per day. Many more are in danger of extinction, and the rate is likely to go up as human activities take their toll on the plants' natural habitats. Even when a species survives, the loss of even part of its natural habitat means that it has fewer defenses against pests, diseases, and environmental changes (such as in the temperature, or the amount of sunlight or water available) for the future. In the course of evolution, plants, like all living things, draw on their range of genetic resources - on the variety of different individuals in the species with different strengths and weaknesses - in order to meet new challenges in their environments. The less there is of such genetic diversity, the more likely the species is to face endangerment or even extinction.
There are many reasons to protect endangered plants and their habitats. Even for food plants found widely throughout the world, rare strains exist that hold the genetic keys to healthier and more nutritious varieties.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.