How Many Trees are in The World? Do We Need More Trees?

by Abare Closet January 18, 2021 5 min read

How Many Trees are in The World? Do We Need More Trees?

Humans can’t help but wonder what’s out there in space. The universe remains a huge mystery to us. But, the world around us is no different. Ever wondered how many trees are in the world? If you think counting stars is difficult, try counting the trees!

There are more of our arboreal cohabitants in the world than we knew about.

Only about a decade ago, we didn't know how many trees there are in the world. Everyone assumed that someone else out there must know. And turns out, no one did!

In this article, we will discuss the amazing journey of the question, how many trees are in the world, and if we need more trees?

Billion Tree Campaign

In 2008, an Ecologist, Thomas Crowther was asked an unprecedented question. 

How many trees are in the world?

At that time, Thomas was working at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. A friend, working on the UN’s Billion Tree Campaign presented the question to him. The campaign was inspired by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai. Its objective was to plant a billion trees to fight global warming.

They weren’t sure if a billion was a good, bad, or medium number.

Turns out, no one knew how many trees were in the world.

The question remained unanswered! 

Were a billion trees too many or too little?

Can we even fit a billion trees on earth?

The seemingly simple question turned out to be bigger than one could imagine. No one knew how many trees cover the earth, so they decided to find out!

Based on satellite imaging, there are approximately 400 billion trees worldwide.According to ground-truthed measurements, there are about 390 billion trees in the Amazon region alone. 

It took scientists and forestry experts two years to find out the total number of trees in the world.To find out the tree count, people actually went out and counted trees. They also gathered data from forest inventories and crunched the numbers. The results were astounding, 10 times more trees from the previous estimate. 

Our planet is home to about 3.04 trillion trees.

Does it Mean That We have Enough Trees on Earth?

Three trillion is a huge number, but no, it’s not enough!

Thomas Crowther pointed out the issue, by saying:

"My fear is that a lot of people might think, 'OK, well, there’s loads of trees, so who cares about the environment, there's plenty left! No worries”

Not exactly! That’s not how it works. 

The trees and forests weren’t generated overnight or we’re discussing new trees every day. In reality, we’ve only gathered data and found out the number of trees in the world.

“We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” —Barack Obama

Climate change is still a pressing issue. We need to plant more trees and take other steps to protect our environment and one home we have in the vast universe!

How Many Trees were There 100 Years Ago?

Many people point out that there are more trees in the world now than there were a hundred years ago! 

Yes, there are indeed more trees in the world now than there were a hundred years ago! 

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization,

“Forest growth has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. By 1997, forest growth exceeded harvest by 42 percent and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920." 

So, is that good news?

Yes, and No!

Trees are vital to the environment. They absorb CO2 and produce oxygen, which is necessary for all life. However, most new forests are comparatively younger. They’re home to fewer animal species, and the ecosystem is not yet mature. 

The increase in the number of trees is mainly due to the preservation of forests via national parks. The first National Park started in 1872. Even with the increasing number of trees in the world, saving that older forest is vital.

Which Country has The Most Trees?

There are forests in various regions of the world. The Washington Post reported that the following countries have the largest forest areas in the world.

  1. Russiawith 642 billion trees has the most trees in the world.
  2. Second, comes Canadawith 318 billion trees.
  3. Brazilcomes next with 302 billion trees.
  4. The United Statesstands fourth with 228 billion trees.
  5. Chinamakes fourth on the list with 140 billion trees.

How Many Trees are Cut Down Every Year?

Nearly 3.5 to 7 billion trees are cut down every year! According to the World Bank, we lost1.3 million square kilometers of forest area between 1990 and 2012. That’s bigger than Africa!

Forests cover about 30 percent of the land area on earth. They’re not only essential to keep the ecosystem intact. Forests also capture and store CO2 and greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change.

The forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. We’re cutting trees for short-term gains while ignoring the long-term impacts. Climate change, flooding, soil erosion, and the increased greenhouse effect are just effects of deforestation.

How Many Trees are in The World and What Percentage of Trees are Left?

Originally, 48% of the earth’s surface was covered by forests. Now, only one-fifth of the earth’s original forests are left. 

The numbers are frightening. Human civilization needs trees for their survival!

Humans cut down 15 billion trees and plant about 5 billion more each year. In conclusion, a net loss of 10 billion trees a year!

In only 40 years, we’ve lost forests the size of India. Half the world’s forests are already gone. With the current rate of deforestation, the rest will be gone by 2021!

We need to take measures to protect the world’s forests. The struggle is not easy, but our small compromises can make a huge difference.

What are the causes of deforestation?

Nearly half of the total tree count is found in the tropical and sub-tropic forests. Deforestation is at large and is happening now while we’re sitting in our homes. From 2011 to 2015, about 20 million hectares of forests have been cut down.

The causes of deforestation are natural and human-driven. We cannot control natural causes like hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. But we can tune down the human-driven causes of deforestation. We’re cutting down trees to make everyday products like cosmetics, paper, cosmetics, etc.

How Many Trees are in The World? Enough or Do We Need More Trees?

The only answer is yes, we need more trees!

Always more trees! 

For the growing civilization, trees provide the very basis of survival. Tree issues, like all otters, are complicated. We cannot suddenly stop deforestation, but what we can do is slow down and plant more. It took years and years for the forests to become what they are today!

What You Can Do to Help The Environment?

As of December 5, 2020, 13.94 billion trees have been planted worldwide.

After the success of the billion tree campaign, the next target is trillion trees

Besides tree planting and reforestation, it’s important to change our lifestyle. If we stop using products that cause deforestation, it would urge change in corporate planning.

People switched to cruelty-free products, so did other businesses. We moved toward vegan, others businesses did too. We aim to stop deforestation, so will others businesses. Don’t forget the power of consumers over businesses.

We, at Abare Closet, have decided to be different and put the environment first. For every product you purchase (made from eco-friendly materials), we plant 10 trees!

It’s not too late to plant more trees and make this planet a better place!

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