Global forest cover higher by at least 9% that previously thought


How will that affect Global Warming predictions (you know, all those CO2 gobbling forests)? Could it be that CO2 is causing forest growth? Something about CO2 being plant food and not a pollutant. 

Authors of a new article in the journal Science estimate that global forest cover turns out to be 9% higher than previous estimates. That’s 9% more carbon-gobbling trees than previous models accounted for. The question is, will that force readjustment and reality checks in the dominant climate change models?

These previously missed forests cover an area of about 467 million hectares – an area of about 60% the size of Australia. Oops. But I’m sure we can have complete confidence in all the other numbers driving climate change models, even if they can’t see the forests for the trees.

From the abstract

Dryland biomes cover two-fifths of Earth’s land surface, but their forest area is poorly known. Here, we report an estimate of global forest extent in dryland biomes, based on analyzing more than 210,000 0.5-hectare sample plots through a photo-interpretation approach using large databases of satellite imagery at (i) very high spatial resolution and (ii) very high temporal resolution, which are available through the Google Earth platform. We show that in 2015, 1327 million hectares of drylands had more than 10% tree-cover, and 1079 million hectares comprised forest. Our estimate is 40 to 47% higher than previous estimates, corresponding to 467 million hectares of forest that have never been reported before. This increases current estimates of global forest cover by at least 9%.