Millions of people depend on the diverse palm plant family for food, drink, and shelter.

Over a thousand different species of palm trees may go extinct, according to research. Artificial intelligence was used by scientists to assess the dangers posed by every member of the palm family, from tall trees to climbing plants. The data gives a much clearer picture of the number and variety of palm species that are endangered. Dr. Sidonie Bellot, the study’s lead author from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, thinks that more than a thousand palm species that are now known to be possibly endangered need to be protected.

The probable loss of a small number of well-known wild relatives of well-liked ornamental or commercially grown palms worries scientists. Some individuals think that wild plants might disappear even before they achieve their full potential. Official assessments of extinction risk take time and money, so the Kew-led team chose to look into machine learning as a solution.