Skip to main content

How many trees does the Earth have?

We have always been told about the importance of forestation, the need for trees and how deforestation is causing climate change. Many of us are willing to and also actively participating to revert climate change.


Keep your world clean and green. 

Save trees,Save the environment!! 

Clean city,Green city!! 

To have a good scenery, there should be little greenery! 

are everywhere and we are all eager to see a greener Earth. But like any other goal that we chase, shouldn't we know where we are starting and what are we aiming at? How many trees does the Earth have and is there a tree census done every decade.

Recently, New York City took up the initiative to map and catalogue every tree on every street of the city. Called, TreesCount!2015, it is a crowd sourced program, looking for the task to be completed through voluntreers. If you would like to be one, you can sign up here. But other than a few instances where cities or organizations such as Terracon or SmartSurvey have tried to use GPS/GIS based systems to carry out a tree census, there are no real global or even country wide efforts made to know the number of trees on our planet.

Estimates of tree have always been made though, with some claiming that the Earth has 400 billion trees. With a population exceeding 7 billion, we have a tree to human ratio of around 60:1. A recent study used satellite imagery and combined it with actual tree counts in various places on the globe and come up with a better estimate that there are actually three trillion trees on our planet, taking the tree to human ratio to an amazing 422:1. 

Thanks to the revision, the Earth might look much greener to you suddenly, but the truth is that thanks to deforestation these forest covers are declining rapidly. Consider the image (courtesy Nature .com) that shows the rapid decline of forest area in South East Asia alone.

Declining forest area in South East Asia. Photo credit: Nature.com

The estimate from T.W.Crowther and colleagues estimates that since the dawn of human civilization (200,000 years), the Earth has lost 45.8% of its tree cover. As per their current estimate, we are cutting down 15 billion trees annually and at this rate we would deforest the entire planet in 200 years! Not very far is it. 

If you know someone who still needs a reason to save the planet, show him/her this post and if the person is still not convinced, there is no need to spend more time on him. You are better off using your time for something more useful.


Reference


Crowther, T., Glick, H., Covey, K., Bettigole, C., Maynard, D., Thomas, S., Smith, J., Hintler, G., Duguid, M., Amatulli, G., Tuanmu, M., Jetz, W., Salas, C., Stam, C., Piotto, D., Tavani, R., Green, S., Bruce, G., Williams, S., Wiser, S., Huber, M., Hengeveld, G., Nabuurs, G., Tikhonova, E., Borchardt, P., Li, C., Powrie, L., Fischer, M., Hemp, A., Homeier, J., Cho, P., Vibrans, A., Umunay, P., Piao, S., Rowe, C., Ashton, M., Crane, P., & Bradford, M. (2015). Mapping tree density at a global scale Nature, 525 (7568), 201-205 DOI: 10.1038/nature14967

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Do free energy magnetic motors really work?

The internet is rife with websites that promote generators that are capable of providing electricity without using any fuel. Built largely with magnets, these 'free energy generators' promise to cut your electricity bills and provide a much greener alternative to the electricity that is largely generated out of fossil fuels. Elaborate videos that give you estimates of how much money you can save without revealing any details of how to go about it, manage to keep the audience hooked on for a while, but $40 price tag, the loads of freebies and the instant $10 discount for not leaving the page, make the product and its seller highly suspicious. So, we decided to find out if these free energy magnetic motors really work?



The Principle

The magnetic motor works on the simple principle that we all already know, 'Like poles repel each other while opposite poles attract each other'. By arranging the magnets in a fashion where only like poles face each other, one can simply set t…

Generating electricity from flapping tree leaves

As kids, you might have spent many afternoons, under a huge tree, enjoying its shade. In a tropical country like India, trees are a welcome sight in the month of May, when the sun is blazing in the sky and the shade offered by them is a hundred thousand times better than artificial cooling of the air conditioning units. But never in our dream would we have thought that the rustling of the tiny leaves of the trees could one day make electricity for us.Because that requires a Hendersonian moment! (just in a bit)

This brilliant idea has come from the lab of a biophysicist at Iowa State University, Dr. Michael McCloskey, whose work at the University largely involves the study of membrane transport in algae and adult born neurons but also has a background in plant sciences. It was his colleague in the department of genetics, Dr. Eric Henderson who first came up with this plan of harvesting energy from leaves as he wondered how much kinetic energy was being generated when winds blow across l…

5 things driverless cars will do to change our future?

The race for building the world’s first commercially available driverless car is on. Google seems to be leading the pack and in its own charismatic style has been very open about it. Elon Musk’s Tesla is considered the second best with their cars having almost automated the driving process. Tech favourites, Apple also seem to be in the race but everything is under wraps, as of now, and there is not even a hint of what Apple is planning to make, the car, the software or simply make the car accessible with your Apple ID.
Once part of science fiction, driverless cars will soon be a part of our lives and with major automobile manufacturers such as General Motors, Toyota, Ford investing in the technology, prototypes of driverless cars will soon be seen on the roads. Before we get there, a quick review.
The Driverless car
The concept of automated driving has been around for close to a century but progress was slow due to unavailability of technology. For a car to be autonomous, it needs to kno…

Solar cells that work in rain

In case you have read my last month’s guest post about harvesting solar energy in rust, you would be delighted to know that there has been yet another breakthrough in our attempt to harness solar energy.  For many years, solar energy has been targeted for being unavailable at night and during rains. The problem of utilizing solar energy at night can be resolved with the help of metal oxide cells as elaborated in my above post (do read it, if you have not done so already). And now researchers at the Ocean University in China have addressed the second problem and developed solar cells that can actually use rain drops to generate electricity.
Published in the German journal Angewandte Chemie, the paper titled, A Solar Cell Triggered by Sun and Rain, opens a new realm of possibilities when harnessing solar energy. Coating the solar cell with a thin film of graphene allows the cell to function even when it is raining. Graphene is nothing but reduced form of graphite that consists of a hone…

Why Sci-Hub’s story is so crucial to science?

On the 28th of October 2015, Judge Robert Sweet in his ruling at the New York district court declared that the website www.sci-hub.org be blocked with immediate effect and managed to stop hundreds and thousands of researchers and science enthusiasts from accessing the holy grail of today’s science, the research paper.
What should be a simple means to communicate to the world one’s research findings, has become a currency of some sort. A ticket to a researcher’s professional success, a magnet for an investigator to attract funding for his lab and the elusive piece of the puzzle that the publishing group can hold you ransom for, until you cough up some good cash ($30 or above for a single article and thousands of dollars for a bundled annual subscription)
What Judge Sweet termed as a “disservice (to) public interest”, is actually a small website that allows you access to scientific research, old and new, and for free. Sci- Hub. Org, started in 2011, as a trusted place to access research …