Mapping tree density at a global scale

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.

La prochaine fois qu’un enverdeur vous dira qu’on est en train de raser toutes les forêts de la planète, vous pourrez rire de lui en lui disant que la plus récente étude publiée à ce sujet montre qu’il y a sur terre 10 fois plus d’arbres que l’on croyait.