The Earth has a lot of trees!

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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.


  • hondo

    Not even sure many of them actually believe it themselves anymore. Seem so – obligatory. As if someone is watching over their shoulder. Science has truly become so tainted these last few decades – but realize that has happened before, so many times in the past.

  • Phill O

    I expect that if Antarctica was included, the tree count would remain the same, so Antarctica was included in essence.

  • Tom Billings

    ” Science has truly become so tainted these last few decades – but realize that has happened before, so many times in the past.”

    We can state that more accurately.

    In the far past, this has happened in academia for at least 500 years, since Henry VIII bought the opinions of the universities of Europe, with gifts of land and gold, about his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. It has been happening in academic Science almost exponentially in proportion to the extent that academic Science depends on an extended funding hierarchy, with the top of that hierarchy ending in a government-based program, whether regulatory or funding related. The farther up a hierarchy’s ladders you go, the more agency cost you meet. That was reflected first in Social Science programs, and then in health programs, and now in physical science programs. It made early gains in engineering technology because of DoD and NASA involvement in spaceflight. This is reflected today in the nonsensical development of the SLS, at the expense of Commercial Crew, and other human spaceflight technology needed to settle the Solar System.

    The more hierarchy, the more agency costs will distort knowledge and development.

  • mpthompson

    With CO2 levels rising, there will probably be more trees in the future. A lot more.

  • Cotour

    Unrelated but related:

    This is a reasonable assessment of climate change, pollution and the political manipulation that is under way.

    Just like the presidents international political and military positions the issue of “climate change” has been going on, will continue to go on and we the humans that inhabit the earth have little to nothing to do with the process.

    Now if you would like to talk about pollution and doing what must be done to curb and eliminate it through technology and best practices, now that is an honest conversation. But we understand that when ever a politician says anything we must assume that they are spouting a flat out lie, and in this case Obama true to form IS A LIAR!

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