How Many Different Types of Trees Live in the Amazon?

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Have you ever tried to count tree species in a forest? This can be a tough job, even for smart scientists who really know their trees, that’s because some forests are really big and aren’t easy to get to because the terrain is so rugged. The Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield, cover an area the size of 48 continuous North American States! We know the Amazon is filled with extraordinary diversity of tree species but there has been a lack of knowledge about what types of plants live in the area. A new study has now helped to uncover the mystery of what trees are in the Amazon. More than 100 experts looked at information from 1,170 forest surveys that were done throughout the Amazon over the past 10 years. Their research has shown that there are 390 billion individual trees in the Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield and roughly 16,000 different species of trees!

amazon forest arial
These trees provide homes for tons of animals, some researchers estimate that one tree in the Amazon can be home to over 10,000 species of insects, that’s a ton of biodiversity. The researchers also found that some of the tree species are more common in the Amazon than others. Trees like the Brazil nut, rubber tree and acai berry tree have been cultivated and used for millennia by human populations. Not all the trees are plentiful though, roughly 6,000 tree species in the Amazon have less than 1,000 individuals left, which means they would be listed as a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. These fascinating tree facts help us better understand Amazonia so that we can protect these amazing forests.

What types of trees live in your neighbourhood? Post your answer in the comment section below.

Find out more about this research:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6156/1243092.abstract
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/fm-fms101413.php

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