New map reveals ‘astronomical’ scale of human impact on forests

“New research suggests there are just over 3tn trees on Earth, which is eight times more than scientists previously thought. But this isn’t the good news it sounds, as humans are cutting down over 15bn trees every year. On balance, once growth of new trees is taken into account, that means our forests are shrinking by around 10bn trees each year.

“The sheer scale of deforestation means we’re eating into the amount of carbon locked up in the world’s forests, the study suggests.

“While nobody expected that the total number of trees worldwide was so high, this hasn’t deterred the efforts of the Billion Tree Programme. . . , in fact it has had the opposite effect:

“Now that they know there are three trillion trees on Earth, and that the number has fallen by almost 50%, they have remade their goals and their new targets are to plant a trillion trees [in total]. They’re massively stepping up their efforts.”  Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.carbonbrief.org

GR:  The solution–replanting the forests–will be difficult to achieve because of the massive demands of the enormous human population.  Continuous cutting, grazing, and plowing of forests have eroded many forest soils and made them unsuitable for tree planting.  Under current land-use practices, the loss of forest will continue.  Add to this the shifting weather patterns of a warming Earth that are expected to increasingly destroy forests and you realize that civilization-shattering consequences are likely.

Evidence for the destruction of forests is clear and widely known to scientists. Why is it that all those natural resource managers and all those consumers whose demands are eliminating the forests ignore the impacts of their practices and their desires?  We need to answer this question.

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