Skip to comments.How many trees are there in the United States? (Including Alaska and Hawaii)
Posted on 09/29/2007 10:32:09 AM PDT by SamAdams76
Well my son came home from school with a very interesting school project for the weekend. He was asked to find out how many trees there are in the United States. The student who comes closest to the answer on Monday will get to give a presentation to the class on how he/she did the research to come up with the most right answer.
The teacher said that the answer can be found by using Google but you will need to be "very creative" with your search terms and you will need to visit multiple sites before arriving at the correct answer.
A tree is described as self-standing unit. Multiple trunks sharing the same root system must count as one. Saplings count too but not older trees that have died or fallen over. To add to the challenge, Alaska and Hawaii have been included but not Canada. Trees straddling the U.S./Canadian border only count if most of the trunk is on the U.S. side (even if the root system is mostly on the Canadian side).
Now attempting to determine the amount of trees in the United States is a daunting undertaking. For the United States is blessed with a lot of trees. Millions of them!
Where to begin?
Unfortunately Google does not seem to be much help. We are unable to find any "tree censuses" for example, in which a given state might report the number of trees.
My son and I believe that the number of trees out there is somewhat static. That is, for every tree being born, there is another tree dying or being knocked down for lumber, etc.
So we decided to make our best guess by ruling out certain states. For example, states like Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada are all desert so no trees there. Florida is just swamp, beaches and condos so not many there either (but there are a lot of palm trees we'll have to count).
New Jersey is pretty much covered with factories, warehouses and turnpikes, so not many trees there (but a lot of middle-class people keep trees in their back yards so we'll have to count those).
So once we reduce states like these, that have hardly any trees at all, our task gets easier. We figure the big "tree" states in the continental U.S. are Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin and Oregon, with a few others.
As for Hawaii, it's kind of like Florida. A bunch of palm trees and that's it. But Alaska, well, that is the mother lode. Alaska is virtually all trees and our biggest state to boot, so most likely, Alaska has about as many trees as the entire lower 48 put together.
After some careful deliberation (and a little bit of math), our best guess is that there are 600 million trees in the entire lower 49 (including Hawaii). Now that sounds like a huge amount but considering that that would only be two trees per person, well, it doesn't sound like much at all. But consider that millions of people live in big cities like New York and Los Angeles where there are hardly any trees. SO that leaves a lot more trees to go around for the rest of us. So two trees per person sounds more reasonable.
Considering our theory that Alaska has as many trees at the other 49 states, then we will stick our necks out and double that 600 million trees to 1.2 billion
So that's our answer and we're sticking to it. My son is going to go to school on Monday and report that the U.S. has 1.2 billion trees! That's 1,200,000,000 if you want to spell it out. My son is nervous because he doesn't want the rest of his class laughing at him for giving such a high number but I'm sure my other Freepers can help convince him that indeed there are quite possibly that many trees out there.
This answer is surely bound to make my son's tree-hugger teacher angry. She's going to probably try to say that there are only about 4 million trees left, because President Bush had them all knocked down for oil pipelines and stuff like that. So he probably hasn't got a chance in hell of winning the contest. But at least my son and I will know that regardless of the outcome, we'll know deep down in our hearts that he had the most correct answer.
The truth might hurt but the fact is, we still have immense stands of trees in this country, well over one billion! Regardless of what the radical left might want us to think.
“A tree is described as self-standing unit. Multiple trunks sharing the same root system must count as one.”
Oh! ...it's your son's project. :)
If you count trees larger than 3/4 inch, the limit I can cut with my garden snippers, there are 100 per acre in the quarter of Alaska that has trees. That is 8 billion trees in Alaska.
Ummmm...... lots and LOTS of trees in the mountains of New Mexico. You could be a million light right there, maybe more.
This seems like the kind of question with many variables. Was the teacher refering to trees used to harvest lumber, like the many fir trees of Washington? Or is the number intended to include the Orange trees of Flordia, the Apple Trees of Washington, and every other variety of food producing tree?
Tundra is half, taiga half the other half, and forest the remainder. BTW, the tundra is on fire, 350 square miles burnt and still burning.
More trees now than when the Pilgrims landed.
I swear I didn’t do it.
It was lightning.
When you get the total, add one more (you forgot to count Al Gore).
There are more acres of trees in New England today than there were when the pilgrims landed. It’s hard to believe but we are at a peak of a 350 year forestation cycle that was at its ebb in about 1640 or so.
Obviously I have nothing better to do and zero personal life whatsoever or I wouldn’t have spent the last 30 minutes looking for a “forest density” overlay for GEarth.
USFS must have one, but I’m not going there.
Back to my multi-week project to sample and combine several versions of “Wicked Game” in FL Studio.
Hey, it’s a hobby.
If you can get within 10-fold either way, I’d say that’s a pretty good guess.
My guess would be somewhere 10 - 100 billion.
I drive the I5 corridor a lot, and believe me, there’s a humungous amount of trees out there.
You should consider drinking alcohol. ;o)
Trees, in thousands
Outside Alaska: 286,434,232
Can’t make sense of the Alaska data because it seems low...
Here's a pretty good forest/tree distribution map from 1859 for comparisons.
You have quite a job there ... GOOD LUCK! And let us know the answer!!! ;-D
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