New study points to need for increased forestry

September 12, 2015

New study points to need for increased forestry

An interesting report recently undertaken by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies has estimated that there are more than 3 trillion trees on Earth, about seven and a half times more than some previous estimates. The team used satellite imagery to assess how the density of trees in the plots was related to local characteristics such as the climate, vegetation, soil conditions and the impacts of human activity, and used the information to model the number of trees in various regions.

The resulting map suggests there are around 3.04 trillion trees, or around 422 for each person, on Earth.  RTE reports that there are 709 million trees in Ireland, equating to 154 for each person. FEL planted 750,000 trees throughout Ireland in 2014, reflecting the increased interest in forestry as a stable source of income.

Despite the unexpected results, the study demonstrates that around 15 billion trees each year are lost globally each year, with devastating consequences for the environment and human health.  The Irish Government has committed €482 million to increasing Ireland’s forest coverage to 17% by 2035 through the new Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020, offering landowners with grant aid designed to increase the forest area and mobilise sustainable timber to the market.

FEL encourages landowners to realise the environmental benefits of forestry. Plantations enhance the environment by increasing biodiversity, capturing carbon and reducing use of fertiliser and pesticides. Forest owners benefit from having their own sustainable fuel source, thus reducing fossil fuel costs as well as providing shelter to the farm helping stock to thrive.