Tree Tally

Digitalizing Data Helps Rainforest Census




ODM/Shutterstock.com

The Amazon rainforest is thought to harbor a greater diversity of trees than anywhere else on Earth, but the exact number has long been a mystery.

In 2013, scientists estimated that the number of species was around 16,000, but no actual count had been done. In a new paper in Scientific Reports, researchers delved into

museum collections from around the world to confirm the current number of tree species recorded in the Amazon and assess possibilities of those yet to be discovered.

“Since 1900, between 50 and 200 new trees have been discovered in the Amazon every year,” notes Nigel Pitman, a Mellon senior conservation ecologist with the Field Museum. “Our analysis suggests that we won’t finish discovering new tree species there for three more centuries.”

The study relied upon the digitization of museum collections data—photographs and digital records—of the specimens housed there and shared worldwide through aggregator sites like IDigBio.org. “It gives scientists a better sense of what’s actually growing in the Amazon Basin, aiding conservation efforts,” says Pitman.


This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Tiny Baubles

As many as 51 trillion particles of discarded plastic lie on the ocean floor, threatening marine life globally.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Flotstone Provides Relaxation Through Floating

Flotstone, in Lake Bluff, is quickly gaining a reputation as a leading-edge float center and spa. Started by Susie McMurray and her son Patrick in 2018, Flotstone is a place for people to relax, rejuvenate and recalibrate from the stressors of their everyday lives.

Eastern Approaches to Better Men's Health

Take steps to correct age-related issues in men and help maintain a healthy life with a combination of Western and Eastern medicines.

Achieve Clarity in Setting Life Goals

This two-weekend intensive is led by Daniel Goodenough, author of Caravan of Remembering, A Road Map for Experiencing the Awakening of your Life Mission.

Win a Week for Two at Farm of Life in Costa Rica

Two lucky winners will enjoy a week-long stay at a much-loved boutique health retreat in Costa Rica, sponsored by Natural Awakenings and Farm of Life (Finca de Vida).

New Solutions for Digestive Distress

Dr. Richard Bisceglie, DN, CNS, will present a program, Are You Absorbing Food?, at the Center for Holistic Medicine.

Golden Curried Rice Pilaf