Tag Archives: trees

The Earth has a lot of trees!

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.

Resurrecting the chestnut tree.

Resurrecting the chestnut tree.

As chief scientist of the American Chestnut Foundation (ACF), a group of chestnut enthusiasts and scientists, Hebard has bred thousands of hybrids at the organization’s research farm in Meadowview, Virginia. He crosses descendants of the original American chestnut with the much smaller Chinese variety (Castanea mollissima), which has some natural immunity to the Asian fungus. And after decades of work, he is within reach of his goal, a tall American tree with enough Chinese traits to keep it healthy. Other researchers are trying to attack the blight with viruses or are creating trees that are genetically modified (GM) to resist the fungus, and could be the first GM forest trees released in the wild in the United States. Progress with all three approaches is raising hopes that chestnuts will soon start to flourish again in the forests of the American east. “We’re starting to pull the American chestnut tree back from the brink of extinction,” says Hebard.

This work is an example of human behavior at its best, using our ability to adapt as well as our brains to help another species come back to life. And we aren’t doing just to help the trees. Bringing the chestnut tree back will benefit us as well as other species.

To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

The future dies to exhibit the past: To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

Several alternatives for the Oct. 12 move were considered but ultimately discarded. Taking the massive shuttle apart would have damaged the delicate tiles that acted as heat sensors. Airlifting the 170,000-pound craft was also ruled out. Not even heavy-duty helicopters could sustain that kind of weight, Rudolph said. A freeway route was considered until engineers realized that the five-story-tall, 78-foot-wide shuttle could not travel under overpasses. “We had to identify a route that had no permanent infrastructures like buildings and bridges,” Rudolph said.

They settled on a final route that will follow Manchester Boulevard to Crenshaw Drive, then onto Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — wide thoroughfares with few permanent obstacles. To make way for the shuttle, some trees will be pruned, power lines will be raised and traffic signals will be removed. Inglewood will lose 128 trees, and communities in South Los Angeles about 265 trees, though the exact number has not yet been determined.

Normally I wouldn’t sweat over the removal of some trees, but this is quite disgusting. It once again raises questions about the choice of Los Angeles over Houston for a shuttle.