What are succulent plants?
Succulents are plants that have special adaptations to store water in one or several of their organs. They have a global distribution and occur in nearly all habitat types, although they are more common in the arid and semi-arid regions of the world. The often bizarre growth-forms and attractive flowers of these plants have promoted widespread interest on this group of plants and horticultural popularity worldwide. Besides their horticultural importance, succulent plants are also of great ecological and economic significance in many parts of the world.
What makes them vulnerable of extinction?
The actual number of succulent plant species in the world is unknown, and one of the central goals of the Cactus and Succulent Plant Specialist Group (CSSG) is precisely to evaluate the current status of this highly vulnerable portion of the world’s flora. The main factor affecting the conservation status of these plants is the destruction of their natural habitat, as a consequence of agricultural development, grassing, urban expansion, road building, mining, etc… .
However, a significant number of species, corresponding to the rarest, most geographically restricted and horticulturally desirable species, have been greatly affected by illegal collecting activities linked to the international trade.