By Traci Watson, Special to USA TODAY
Three trillion. That’s the staggering number of trees on Earth, according to a new tally that astounds even the scientists who compiled it.
Three trillion is three followed by 12 zeroes, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way and more than the number of cells in a human brain. If the new sum is accurate – and other scientists think it is – the planet boasts roughly 420 trees for every living person. An earlier count pegged the global tree total at a mere 400 billion, but that study relied on less sophisticated methods.
The gold medal for tree numbers goes to Russia, with 642 billion. The United States is fourth with 228 billion, behind only Russia, Canada and Brazil, although the United States lags behind many more countries in tree density. The figures are published in this week’s Nature.
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