A new scientific study reveals that there are nearly 9,000 species of trees on Earth that have yet to be discovered. According to the research, almost half of these are found in South America, where 43 percent of all trees on Earth are found.
About 150 researchers participated in this study, which shows a 14 percent increase in the total number of tree species, compared to the previous estimate. According to the authors, the species that have not been identified are, for the most part, rare and more vulnerable to the risk of extinction. For this reason, scientists stress that it is urgent to apply stricter legislation and enforce environmental laws.
Previous research put the total number of tree species at 64,000. However, this new study shows that number could reach 73,000. Of these, 9,000 are completely unknown to science.
“The result has left us stunned. We would never have imagined that there were so many species of trees yet to be discovered. In fact, this study offers the scientific community, and humanity in general, more insight into its incredible diversity. It is even more incredible to think that we still do not know all of them in 2022”, explains the author Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, from the University of Bologna, in Italy.
The study concludes that South America is home to the largest number of tree species in the world, with 43 percent of the total. They are followed by the Eurasia region (22%), Africa (16%), North America (15%) and Oceania (11%).
At the same time, South America stands out as the area with the most trees that have not yet been described by science, reaching some 4,000 species. “The richest areas are found at the confluence of the Andes with the Amazon,” explains Oliver Phillips, professor of tropical ecology at the University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom.