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The uncertainty of science: A new estimate of the number of trees on Earth has increased that estimate seven-fold, from about 400 billion to 3 trillion.
The previously accepted estimate of the world’s tree population, about 400 billion, was based mostly on satellite imagery. Although remote imaging reveals a lot about where forests are, it does not provide the same level of resolution that a person counting trunks would achieve.
Crowther and his colleagues merged these approaches by first gathering data for every continent except Antarctica from various existing ground-based counts covering about 430,000 hectares. These counts allowed them to improve tree-density estimates from satellite imagery. Then the researchers applied those density estimates to areas that lack good ground inventories. For example, survey data from forests in Canada and northern Europe were used to revise estimates from satellite imagery for similar forests in remote parts of Russia.
That these same scientists can, in this same story, also claim with almost certainty that the number of trees on Earth has declined precisely 46% since homo sapiens appeared 12,000 years ago illustrates the difficulty humans have to remain skeptical. How do they get this precise number for the tree count 12,000 years ago? It appears to me that they have allowed the modern environmental agenda of blaming the evil destruction of the environment on humanity to cloud their thinking.
If scientists have discovered a seven-fold error in their count today, I am sure the margin of error for an estimate for 12,000 years ago will be much higher.