You will not Believe in The Number of Tree Species!


Melda Bağdatlı

You must have heard of the oak tree, and the pine. How about the jabuticaba tree in Brazil and boojum tree in Mexica? The diversity of tree species in the world is a subject beyond the depth of most of us. There was even no conciliation on the number of species, up until this year.

The first global tree database published by researchers (www.bgci.org/global_tree_search.php) finally provides clarification on this debate. The database is open to access for anyone willing to do an online search and includes more than 60,000 species! To give the exact number: 60,065 species.

According to the data gathered from museums, botanical gardens, agricultural institutions and various other resources, researchers found that the countries hosting the highest number of tree species in the world are Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia, each hosting at least 5,000 species. Around 58 percent of the world’s tree species is endemic, meaning they are unique to a certain location and do not grow anywhere else. The highest number of endemic tree species are found in Brazil, Australia, and China. Locations where island conditions spark off speciation such as Madagascar, Indonesia and New Guinea are also rich in tree diversity.

The database will constantly be updated and will provide a huge advantage for researchers and policy makers to monitor tree diversity. It will also enable us to follow the conservation status of all tree species until 2020. 

REFERENCES

  • 1. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/how-many-tree-species-are-there-more-you-can-shake-stick-new-database-reveals
  • 2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10549811.2017.1310049