October 2015 Newsletter The Latest News from International Tree Foundation.
Humans and Trees.
A REPORT published last month by an international team of scientists contained the most detailed assessment yet of the number of trees on the planet. It estimates there are just over three trillion trees left on Earth. Since the onset of agriculture 12,000 years ago, humans have reduced the planet’s tree cover by 46%, and trees are now being cut down at the rate of 12 billion a year.
Depressing statistics – although the rate of deforestation is, at least, slowing down. But the report, based on a combination of satellite data and ground level measurements, also contains some fascinating insights into the number of trees in each all the world’s countries – and how this compares with their respective human populations. If the former is divided by the latter, a figure is arrived at which we could call the Tree Per Person Ratio, or TPPR. Considering that trees sustain life on Earth including humans, and humans are responsible for cutting them down, it seems like an important equation. According to the data the UK, with a population of 67.5 million has just over 3 billion trees which means it has a tree per person ratio (TPPR) of exactly 47. It turns out that four thousand miles or so to the south, Kenya, one of the least-forested countries in Africa, also has around 3 billion trees – but with a population of just 45.6 million, its TPPR is 67.
Britain and many other European countries lost most of their original forest cover centuries of years ago, and it could be argued that they now bear a responsibility to the rest of the world to bring more of their forests back. In Africa deforestation is a more recent phenomenon – one which, of course, is germane to ITF’s work. So we have compiled a list showing the TPPRs for all the African countries where we are supporting efforts to conserve and enhance forest cover.
COUNTRY PEOPLE (million) TREES (million) TPPR
Cameroon 22.8 19, 431 852
Tanzania 50.7 21, 000 410
Malawi 16.8 3, 000 189
Ghana 26.4 4, 600 172
Mali 15.7 3, 000 166
Ethiopia 96.5 14, 000 143
Senegal 14.5 1, 300 90
Kenya 45.6 3, 000 67
Uganda 38.8 2, 000 63
Nigeria 178.5 10, 945 61
Burkina Faso 17.5 1, 000 59
And the TPPR for planet Earth? According to the Yale study there are precisely 3,251,375,879,417 on the planet. At the time of writing, the human population (which is growing at the rate of about 75m per year) stood at 7,375, 354,750. This means there are trees 440.84 trees per person on Earth (or slightly less by the time you read this newsletter).