How many trees are left?


Are there more trees now than before?

At the dawn of human civilization, there were around 6 trillion trees but now only half (3 trillion) remains. There are 4 billion hectares (40 million km2) of forest left with 1 billion hectares (10 million km2) of primary forest remaining.

This covers 30% of earths land mass and is equivalent to just 0.50 hectare per person. In reality however the forest is not evenly distributed, nearly half of the remaining forest (1.4 trillion trees) is in the tropics and subtropics.

Tropical forests provide some of the most important keys to unlocking new scientific discoveries. Unfortunately, they are being mowed down faster than any other forest type.

Africa and south America hosts most of the tropical forests but also come in first and second place for the highest losses of forested area.

Hill forest burning

The planet has 6 billion ha (67 million km2) of land suitable for dense tree cover and room for at least 600 billion mature trees before competing with agricultural lands, plenty of room for immediate reforestation.

How many trees are being planted, how many destroyed?

Forest fire

Earth loses twice as many trees as are planted every year, a net loss of 5 billion trees with an estimated 4.2 million km2 (420 million ha) of forest having been deforested since 1990.

The speed of forest loss remains unsustainably high. Even with all that we have learned 10 million ha are still being deforested every year with mining, drilling and the expansion of commodity crops accounting for over half of global deforestation.

Who owns the worlds forests?

More than half  of the world’s forests is in only five countries – Russia , Brazil, Canada, the USA and China.
Of those 5 - Brazil, Canada and Russia own more than 60 percent of the world’s high quality primary forest/ old-growth forest.

However due to mismanagement the area of primary forest has decreased by 81 million hectare (810000 km2) since 1990. 

Fire spreading throughout forest

The largest reforestation efforts have taken place in China with 79 million hectares of planted forest mainly through their green wall project ‘ Three-North Shelter Forest Program’.

However, setbacks have occurred due to the lack of plant diversity making them weak to disease outbreak, reminding us once again of the difference between plantation and forest.

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