VIDEO: The Earth's Trees Are Disappearing

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 9:15am

This short video, based on a Yale study, presents some sobering facts about trees:

  • there are 50% less trees on Earth vs when human civilization started
  • we are losing 10 billion trees per year (net)
  • at this rate, the world's trees will be gone in 300 years


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jturbo68's picture
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Trees and declining prosperity


I have a feeling that Trees will bear the brunt of peak energy.   As we become poorer we will take what we need to survive. 



Time2help's picture
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Posts: 2903
more fuel

Although the rains are back for now, tree mortality here in the Pacific Northwest has been high this year. Walk or drive anywhere and you will see lots of dead and dying trees, it was just too warm for too long without significant precipitation. A rainforest needs rain. All of these trees and brush that didn't make it add to next season's fire risk.

And the birdie is back down to you Arthur.

jgritter's picture
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I'm Suspicious

I'm suspicious of a map that would seem to suggest very high concentrations of trees IN the Great Lakes.  I've been across Lake Michigan a couple of times, not a lot of trees out there.  That said, trees are coming up like weeds here (south western Michigan), literally.  If catastrophic climate change is averted by the collapse of industrial civilization, I imagine the trees will just adjust to conditions, as they always have.

John G

jtwalsh's picture
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Posts: 270
Anecdotal Observations

Growing up in Rhode Island, which was supposedly nearly completely deforested in the 19th  century, I am familiar with a number of tracks of land that have produced apparently robust second and even third growth forests. I am old enough to be able to point to a number of places that were farm or hay fields in my youth and now are completely reforested. Based on this experience I have a difficult time imagining all tree species becoming extinct.

Having said that, I must also admit to, over a number of years, cutting down eight, one hundred year old maples, in my town yard as they became diseased and falling limbs were a hazard for buildings, fences, cars and people. 

We also removed two eighty foot high white pines from our lot in the north woods. Our cabin was built between these two trees forty years ago (the trees being much older than that).  Summer and winter storms of increasing violence kept taking down huge limbs until one went through the roof and landed in our kitchen. The house and trees had happily coexisted for over forty years but the climate variations of the past few years had become too severe to keep any trees within striking distance of the house.

We have also had years in both southern and northern New England where the trees have been so stressed that there is very little color in fall.  The leaves just turn brown and drop.  It has been extremely dry here the past month and I have noticed trees with leaves turning brown and falling already (way early for southern New England.).

Jgritter is probably correct.  If we could slow climate change starting right now the forests could recover.  If we continue cutting and stressing them all bets may be off.


blackeagle's picture
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Posts: 229
Here in north america

Here in north America, we still have a relatively wet climate and we are not over-populated. In many other places this is not the case. Most of the deforestation occurs at theses places and is increased by poverty and lack of energy (gas, oil, electricity). So, people burn wood.

As an example, Greece has an acute deforestation problem since they started their fall to hell a few years ago. People are too poor to pay utility company to heat their homes, so they cut trees, even in protected areas.

We can also mention the Amazonian basin, or the African Sahel, or... etc.

What we see here is not representative of what is happening elsewhere.

As long as the human pressure is there (heating, cooking, building needs), trees have little to no chance of recovering even if we help climate. I think it will be worse, as the energy consumption will move from fossil to renewable, the first available renewable being unfortunately wood.

thatchmo's picture
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Partial Solution

At least for the fuel demands on the forest.  Cheap to produce, amazingly efficient.  Rocket stoves.....Aloha, Steve

Tall's picture
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Posts: 564
Coppicing / pollarding for renewable firewood

We could use our resources more efficiently


LesPhelps's picture
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Posts: 819
jturbo68 wrote: I have a
jturbo68 wrote:

I have a feeling that Trees will bear the brunt of peak energy.   As we become poorer we will take what we need to survive. 

That is my concern as well.  Jared Diamond, in his book "Collapse" sites deforestation as a common end result of overpopulation and collapse.

Deforestation concern is a primary reason I am not a fan of all the natural gas fired electric generating plants we have been building.  Natural gas heats a lot of homes in North America.  When we run short, we will have to both find an alternative energy source AND modify our homes to use that energy source.  It's an incredibly short sighted trend.

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