There are around 1,000 species of gymnosperms in the world, conservation assessments for which are coordinated by the Sampled Red List Index for Plants team at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew .
Gymnosperms are plants that bear exposed seeds and are comprised of conifers, cycads, gnetales and ginkgo. Although gymnosperms accounts for only 0.36% of flowering plants, they can form large areas of coniferous forests and are widely distributed globally. They are an important part of the ecosystem by providing food and shelter for many animals are also of economic importance to humans as many species can be processed for lumber, paper, resins for soaps and for medicinal compounds.
While the assessments for Gymnosperms will not be completed till later in 2012, preliminary results show that a high proportion (over a third) of species are under threat from extinction. Gymnosperms are threatened by deforestation for agriculture and urbanisation, and climate change.