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Nature. 2015 Sep 10;525(7568):201-5. doi: 10.1038/nature14967. Epub 2015 Sep 2.

Mapping tree density at a global scale.

Author information

1
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki 00014, Finland.
3
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.
4
Department of Life Sciences, Silwood Park, Imperial College, London SL5 7PY, UK.
5
Departamento de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco 4811230, Chile.
6
RedCastle Resources, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103, USA.
7
Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Ferradas, Itabuna 45613-204, Brazil.
8
Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome 00153, Italy.
9
Operation Wallacea, Spilbsy, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK.
10
Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC), University of Kent, Canterbury ME4 4AG, UK.
11
Molecular Imaging Research Center MIRCen/CEA, CNRS URA 2210, 91401 Orsay Cedex, France.
12
Landcare Research, Lincoln 7640, New Zealand.
13
WSL, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland.
14
Environmental Science Group, Wageningen University &Research Centre, 6708 PB, The Netherlands.
15
Center for Forest Ecology and Productivity RAS, Moscow 117997, Russia.
16
CEN Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, Institute of Geography, University of Hamburg, Hamburg 20146, Germany.
17
Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Brno 61137, Czech Republic.
18
South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Claremont 7735, South Africa.
19
Institute of Plant Sciences, Botanical Garden, and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, 3013 Bern, Switzerland.
20
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BIK-F), 60325 Frankfurt, Germany.
21
Department of Plant Systematics, University of Bayreuth, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany.
22
Albrecht von Haller Institute of Plant Sciences, Georg August University of Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.
23
Tropical Ecology Research Group, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK.
24
Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Departamento de Engenharia Florestal, Blumenau/Santa Catarina 89030-000, Brazil.
25
Sino-French Institute for Earth System Science, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.

Abstract

The global extent and distribution of forest trees is central to our understanding of the terrestrial biosphere. We provide the first spatially continuous map of forest tree density at a global scale. This map reveals that the global number of trees is approximately 3.04 trillion, an order of magnitude higher than the previous estimate. Of these trees, approximately 1.39 trillion exist in tropical and subtropical forests, with 0.74 trillion in boreal regions and 0.61 trillion in temperate regions. Biome-level trends in tree density demonstrate the importance of climate and topography in controlling local tree densities at finer scales, as well as the overwhelming effect of humans across most of the world. Based on our projected tree densities, we estimate that over 15 billion trees are cut down each year, and the global number of trees has fallen by approximately 46% since the start of human civilization.

PMID:
26331545
DOI:
10.1038/nature14967
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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