Scientists Discover Thousands of New Tree Species in the Amazon, Will Take Centuries to Classify
On average, one tree needs about an inch of water once a week making the Amazon Rainforest a perfect place for a diverse range of trees to grow. In fact, the rainforest is so diverse that scientists have just discovered thousands of new tree species within the rainforest, a feat that may take upwards of 300 years to fully classify every single one.
The Amazon is home to the largest amount of trees in the entire world. Back in 2013, researchers made the claim that there were an estimated 16,000 trees in the rainforest alone.
In the latest study published in journal Scientific Reports, scientists set out to prove this claim was legitimate, and if there were any species left to discover.
Turns out, the rarest tree species are still unidentified.
Nigel Pitman, the Field Museum’s Mellon Senior Conservation Ecologist explained the findings to the International Business Times, saying
“We interpret this to mean that our 2013 estimate of 16,000 species is good, and that about 4,000 of the rarest Amazonian trees remain to be discovered and described.Since 1900, between 50 and 200 new trees have been discovered in the Amazon every year. Our analysis suggests that we won’t be done discovering new tree species there for three more centuries.”
The research team was comprised of a group of internationally renowned botanists. They sorted through every collection of Amazon tree specimens collected between 1707 and 2015. Ultimately, they came up with a digitized file of 11,676 diverse trees.
To put this in perspective, there have been between 50 and 200 new species of trees discovered every year since 1900.
This all-inclusive list will serve as a valuable resource that can help to promote conservation efforts within the rainforest, as it will help scientists identify the most at-risk species.
Also known as the Amazon Jungle, this area of land fills up most of the Amazon basin in South America. Standing at 5,500,000 square kilometers, a full 60% is in Brazil, 13% in Peru, 10% in Columbia, and a minor percentage is represented in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, and Guyana.