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Scientists discover that the world contains dramatically more trees than previously thought – The Washington Post


In a blockbuster study released Wednesday in Nature, a team of 38 scientists finds that the planet is home to 3.04 trillion trees, blowing away the previously estimate of 400 billion. That means, the researchers say, that there are 422 trees for every person on Earth.However, in no way do the researchers consider this good news. The study also finds that there are 46 percent fewer trees on Earth than there were before humans started the lengthy, but recently accelerating, process of deforestation.“We can now say that there’s less trees than at any point in human civilization,” says Thomas Crowther, a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies who is the lead author on the research. “Since the spread of human influence, we’ve reduced the number almost by half, which is an astronomical thing.”In fact, the paper estimates that humans and other causes, such as wildfires and pest outbreaks, are responsible for the loss of 15.3 billion trees each year — although the authors said at a press conference that perhaps 5 billion of those may grow back each year, so the net loss is more like 10 billion annually.

Source: Scientists discover that the world contains dramatically more trees than previously thought – The Washington Post

Thus, the study estimates a loss of nearly half of the world’s trees and a continuing loss of 10 billion trees net a year, or roughly 3 percent a year, suggesting that by 2050 there will be a loss of more than 50 percent of the remaining trees– so that there will be less than a quarter of the trees remaining by then, and the rise in carbon dioxide levels will be more than 3 parts per million per year, and there will be more than 500 parts per million of carbon dioxide. The increases may not be sustained in a linear fashion.

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