Plants are the backbone of all life on Earth and an essential resource for human well-being. Just think about how your everyday life depends on plants.
Food: Everything we eat comes directly or indirectly from plants. Throughout human history, approximately 7,000 different plant species have been used as food by people.
Air: Oxygen is brought to you by plants, as a byproduct of photosynthesis.
Water: Plants regulate the water cycle: they help distribute and purify the planet's water. They also help move water from the soil to the atmosphere through a process called transpiration.
Habitat: Of course, aside from humans' myriad uses, plants make up the backbone of all habitats. Other species of fish and wildlife also depend on plants for food and shelter.
Medicine: One-quarter of all prescription drugs come directly from or are derivatives of plants. Additionally, four out of five people around the world today rely on plants for primary health care. Read more about why plant extinction threatens the discovery of new medicine here.
Climate: Plants store carbon, and have helped keep much of the carbon dioxide produced from the burning of fossil fuels out of the atmosphere.
Plants make oxygen. One of the materials that plants produce as they make food is oxygen gas. This oxygen gas, which is an important part of the air, is the gas that plants and animals must have in order to stay alive. When people breathe, it is the oxygen that we take out of the air to keep our cells and bodies alive.
Topic: Nutrition in plants