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Last Chinese warning. Scientists studying Earth’s trees warn mankind

The study shows the "green lungs" of the planet are experiencing huge problems and we will soon face their consequences.

For decades, scientists have been studying climate change and the problems that humanity may face in the near foreseeable future, Science Alert writes .

Back in 2021, scientists conducted a massive assessment called The State of the World’s Trees and found that a shocking third of all tree species on the planet literally teetered on the brink of existence. The results of the study show that about 17.5 thousand unique tree species are endangered. For comparison, this is twice the number of all endangered animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.

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Researchers believe that this state of affairs will certainly endanger local forests, as well as threaten the existence of entire ecosystems. Note that in some cases we are talking about such rare specimens that there is only one representative of the species in the world – for example, a lonely palm tree in Mauritius.

In the new one, the researchers issued a “warning to mankind” about the consequences of these losses for the world familiar to us. This study was supported by almost fifty scientists from two dozen countries.

Conservation biologist Malin Rivers of Botanic Gardens Conservation International and her colleagues warn that:

  • most fruits, nuts, and medicines come to us from trees;
  • about 880 million people use firewood as fuel;
  • about 1.6 billion people live within 5 km of the forest and rely on it for food and income;
  • Every year, trees contribute about $1.3 trillion to the global economy.

However, it is important to understand that each tree is a small world for many unicellular and multicellular life forms, including other plants, fungi, bacteria and animals. The loss of one tree is, in fact, equal to the death of this world.

Rivers says it’s important to understand that half of all birds and animals live in trees, which is why the loss of trees has been linked to the extinction of a number of birds and animals. That is, we simply cannot take care of other creatures without securing the trees.

The researchers note that since 1970, the number of species living in depleted forests has already decreased by about 53%, and more forests will die every year, which means that their inhabitants are also at risk. In fact, the extinction of one tree species can have a domino effect on all other species interacting with them.

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