LONDON - Ten percent of the world's tree species face extinction through felling, forest fires and poor forest management, conservationists said in a report on Wednesday.

"With 77 species already extinct, this report has now confirmed our worst nightmare," said Dr Steve Howard of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The World List of Threatened Trees details over 8,753 of the world's 80,000 to 100,000 tree species as being in danger of extinction.

The list is the product of a three-year project by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, which is partly funded by the WWF, and the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Howard called on governments meeting in Geneva this week for the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests to act quickly to save the trees.

"The governments gathering this week must now realise the sense of urgency to increase forest protection, eliminate illegal logging and improve forest management," Howard said.

The list includes several species with just one tree left, such as China's single remaining Carpinus putoensis which survives fenced off at the edge of a sparse forest, the victim of deforestation.

Conservationists warned most living species were dependent for their survival on trees, particularly in tropical forests which were home to 90 percent of the world's species.

"If we can't save these elephants of the plant world, then the prognosis for all other species which depend on trees is frightening," said UCN's Dr Wendy Strahm.

(c) Reuters 1998