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How Many Species of Trees Are There in the World? | BeCause Tees

How Many Species of Trees Are There in the World?

Have you ever wondered just how many species of trees there are globally? While it's extremely challenging to determine an exact number, in recent years, scientists have made remarkable progress in documenting and classifying trees. So, how many species of trees are there in the world? Let's find out!

Forest of trees with fog 

How Many Species of Trees Are There?

It's estimated that there are 73,300 tree species in the world, including 9,200 tree species that have yet to be discovered. These figures come from a research article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This research article provides a figure that's 14% higher than previous estimates. 

It's believed that approximately 40% of the undiscovered tree species are in South America. There's a concern that nearly one-third of all undiscovered species may be rare and possibly close to extinction - this highlights the vulnerability of forest biodiversity to changes in land use and climate change, which provide great threats to rare species.

The Difficulties in Quantifying Tree Species

Identifying and quantifying the number of tree species on Earth is a mammoth task. Over time, scientists have been constantly discovering new species and reassessing existing classifications. 

There are various difficulties in ascertaining an exact number of tree species, including the challenges of reaching remote habitats, the sheer scale of tropical rainforests, not to mention the time and resources required to identify all trees across the globe.

As time has gone by and technology has improved, however, being able to visit countries across the globe and being able to quickly communicate with other researchers globally, along with more advanced techniques, has laid the foundation for global research to be carried out more easily than ever before. 

Perhaps one day we'll have an exact number of how many species of trees there are in the world. The fact that there are still an estimated 9,200 tree species still yet to be discovered is rather exciting.

Looking up at a tree

Distribution of Tree Species

In terms of distribution of tree species across continents, the study provides the following estimates:

  • 43% of all tree species occur in South America
  • 22% occur in Eurasia
  • 16% occur in Africa
  • 15% occur in North America
  • 11% occur in Oceania

The Importance of Tree Conservation

Understanding as much as we can about all tree species and their distribution is vital for effective conservation efforts. Trees and forests are incredibly important to us humans, and to the planet as a whole. Trees provide habitats for wildlife, help to regulate water, and provide carbon storage, plus so much more. Global forest loss is a real concern. 

Conservation strategies are vital to help protect the thousands of tree species across our planet, many of which are no longer in plentiful supply. Through efforts to preserve forests, reforestation initiatives, and raising awareness about the importance of trees, we can help to not only protect the trees themselves, but also the entire ecosystems they support.

 

Whilst it's incredibly challenging to know an exact number of how many species of trees there are in the world, research being conducted leads us ever-closer to finding out more accurate numbers. By nurturing our relationship with trees and raising awareness about the need to employ sustainable practices, we can help support the preservation of all tree species for good. Check out our Tree Collection to show off your love for a variety of tree species - we'll fund the planting of and donate a percentage to ecological non-profits with every purchase.

Protect our Forests Tote BagPhoto: @thewildlylife 

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