How Many Trees are There in the World?

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According to the latest research, the total number of trees in the world is 3.041 trillion (that’s 3,041,000,000,000).  The revised number is almost eight times more than the previous estimate of 400 billion trees.  

Previous estimates were based solely on satellite imagery, whereas the new estimates used calculations based on how much of the earth’s surface is covered in forests and how dense those forests are.  

A combination of satellite imagery, forest inventories, and supercomputer technologies was used to determine tree counts at a global resolution of one square kilometer.  Tree counts were done in thousands of locations around the world to determine tree densities for the world’s various forests.

Where are the highest tree densities?

The forests with the highest densities can be found sub-arctic forests where on average there is a tree every meter.  The boreal forests of North America, Scandinavia and Russia are densely packed with skinny conifers and are estimated to hold about 750 billion trees, representing 24% of the total trees in the world.

Where are the most trees in the world?

A little under half of the world’s trees can be found in the tropical and sub-tropic forests.  About 1.3 trillion trees, or 43% of the total are found in these areas.

Map of the world's forests.  Source: Crowther et al, 2015.
Map of the world’s forests. Source: Crowther et al, 2015.

References

Crowther, T. W. et al. Nature http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14967 (2015).

Ehrenburg, R. (September 2, 2015). Global count reaches 3 trillion trees. Nature News. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/news/global-count-reaches-3-trillion-trees-1.18287

For Fun: Map of the World’s Forest Sounds

Sounds of the Forest is a web map that showcases sounds recorded from woodlands and forests from around the world. The resulting soundmap is a collection of bird calls, rustling trees, and wildlife present in forests across most continents (Antarctica, with its lack of any trees is not represented).

Hundreds of forest sound recordings located in more that thirty countries can be accessed on the Sounds of the Forest map. Users can contribute their own recordings.

Screenshot from the Sounds of the Forest web map, taken September 4, 2020.

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