Earth has more tree species than we thought

Earth has more tree species than we thought

There are 14% more tree species than previously thought, according to what researchers are calling the first “scientifically credible” estimate.

Of the 73,300 estimated species, the researchers predict there are 9,200 that are yet to be discovered.

But most rare species are in tropical forests, fast disappearing because of climate change and deforestation.

The study is based on a database of tens of millions of trees in more than 100,000 forest plots around the world.

The researchers used statistical techniques to predict the likely number of tree species, correcting for gaps in existing data.

The findings suggest more must be done to protect the incredible life forms needed for food, timber and medicine and to fight climate change by sucking carbon dioxide from the air.

South America – the continent with the most “missing” species – has about 43% of the total number, followed by:

  • Eurasia (22%)
  • Africa (16%)
  • North America (15%)
  • Oceania (11%)

Diverse natural forests are the most healthy and productive, important to the global economy and to nature.

  • growing the ingredients of food eaten in the West, such as beef, palm oil and soy (the last two of these are also used for cattle feed)
  • climate change
  • fires

More than 140 international researchers worked on the study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

One in three species tree face extinction

At least 30% of the world’s tree species face extinction in the wild, according to a new assessment.

They range from well-known oaks and magnolias to tropical timber trees.

Experts say 17,500 tree species are at risk – twice the number of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles combined.

Conservation groups are calling for urgent protection efforts amid threats such as deforestation, logging and climate change.

The report, State of the World’s Trees, found that at least 30% of the 60,000 known tree specie face extinction.

Some 142 species have already vanished from the wild, while 442 are on the very edge of extinction, with fewer than 50 individual trees remaining.

The biggest threats to trees globally are forest clearance for crops (impacting 29% of specie), logging (27%), clearance for livestock grazing or farming (14%), clearance for development (13%) and fire (13%).

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