According to a new report made public on Wednesday, there are three trillion trees on planet Earth. It is eight times more than it was previously estimated. That means there are about 420 trees for every person.
A team of experts at Yale University conducted the most ample tree census ever. In order to achieve that, the researchers used cutting-edge satellite technology, as well as simple headcount.
The study’s lead author declared that he was pleasantly surprised when he and his team found that the tree population is in the order of trillions.
The bad news come as a result of the team’s calculations which had concluded that the cover of trees had been reduced to a half since humans started roaming the Earth. The study’s biggest concern, however, is that our species increased the pace of deforestation in the last couple of decades to the point where 15 billion trees are being cut down every year. The research team based their estimations on 400,000 forest plots documented statistics.
The team used satellite imagery in order to determine how factors such as climate, vegetation, topography and human activity impact the world’s tree density.
The study showed that the highest densities were found in the forests of sub-arctic Russia, North America, and Scandinavia. Whereas the largest forest-covered areas are situated in the tropics, in which we can find 43% of the world’s tree population.
It came as no surprise that of all the factors impacting tree population, human activity was by far the biggest, due to heavy deforestation and land use. The University claimed that as the human population grows, the tree densities usually decline.
Study author, Thomas Crowther, said that this problem should not be taken lightly, as we’ve seen the impact the decreasing population of trees has on climate and on our health. Their study only stresses how much more effort is required from our part if we plan to bring back thriving forests worldwide.
Trees not only offer oxygen and shelter from the rain, but they also store significant amounts of carbon, which is beneficial in our battle against global warming.
Photo credits: flickr