An impala strikes a pose under a forest canopy in Zimbabwe. Here is a pop quiz: How many trees are on the planet? Most people have no idea. A new study says the answer is more than 3 trillion trees — that’s trillion with a T, and that number is about eight times more than a previous estimate. Thomas Crowther was inspired to do this tree census a couple of years ago, when he was working at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He had a friend who was working with a group with an ambitious goal: trying to fight global warming by planting a billion trees. A billion trees sounded like a lot. But was it really? "They didn’t know if planting a billion trees was going to add 1 percent of the world’s trees, add 50 percent of the world’s trees," recalls Crowther. "They didn’t even know if it was even possible to fit a billion trees on Earth." So his pal asked him a simple question: How many trees are growing on our planet? "I assumed that this was somewhere out there, it’s information that someone will know," says Crowther. That turned out to […]

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