Global Map of Trees

aspen-forest-colorado_57996_990x742222Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post about a multinational team of scientists that had used high-resolution satellite imagery to count the number of lakes on Earth. Now comes news that another multinational team of scientists has counted the total number of trees. After analyzing hundreds of thousands of ground-sourced measurements from every continent save for Antarctica, the team of scientists (led by Yale ecologist Thomas Crowther) determined that our home planet contains more than 3 trillion trees, or roughly 422 trees for every person alive on Earth today. That is an astonishing number of trees, but it also finite. According to Crowther and company, the planet’s tree population has decreased by half since people began settling into sedentary communities around 10,000 years ago. What’s more, an additional 15 billion trees are cut down every single year. To learn more, check out the links here (paywall), here, here, and here. You can also watch an excellent video that summarizes the scientists’ research at this link. No word on whether they consider aspen groves like the one in the overhead banner (original image here) many trees or one. As you may already know, aspens generally grow in large clonal colonies, and what looks like a forest of distinct trees above ground is actually a single, interconnected superorganism beneath ground. To learn more, check out the links here and here. Finally, since we are on the topic of trees, I thought I’d share a cool video that I recently found while rummaging through the OpenCulture website. The brief animated video (which you can watch in its entirety at this link) features Shel Silverstein narrating his classic ode to selflessness, The Giving Tree.