Why plants are important


Healthy plants are a critical resource, the natural protectors supporting life on Earth.

The International Year of Plant Health 2020 hopes to raise global awareness about the vital importance of plant health to support sustainable food production, protect the environment and boost economic development.

Plants are the source of the air we breathe and most of the food we eat, yet we often do not pay enough attention to keeping them healthy. This can have devastating results. FAO estimates that up to 40 percent of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases annually.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Did you know plants produce 98% of the oxygen we breathe & 80% of the food we eat?

Here are some amazing facts highlighting the importance of plants to health, the environment and our economy.


The world’s food supply depends on about 150 plant species, of which just 12 provide three-quarters of the world’s food.

A mature evergreen tree can intercept more than 15,000 litres of water per year, helping to reduce the risk of flooding.

The British oak tree supports 2,300 species including 38 bird species, 229 bryophytes, 108 fungi, 1178 invertebrates, 716 lichens, and 31 mammals. More than any other native tree species.

Overall, an estimated 1.3 billion kg of air pollutants were removed by woodlands, plants, grasslands and other UK vegetation in 2015.

Around 568,700 jobs across the UK are supported by ornamental horticulture and landscaping, equivalent to 1 in every 62 jobs.

Farmers in the UK produced 14m tonnes of wheat, 5m tonnes of potatoes and 719 thousand tonnes of fruit in 2018.

168 of 454 tree species native to the European region are considered threatened; 34 of these species are UK natives.