The Sahara desert, hot and dry … doesn’t seem to have a single tree. But you can see that in movies. The reality is that there are many more trees in Western Sahara than you can imagine. How many? More than 1.8 million trees. This is discovered by counting the trees of the Sahara.
The number of trees in the Western Sahara and the Sahel has exceeded all scientists’ expectations. How was this census done? The high-resolution remote sensing enabled the acquisition of a large number of satellite images of these desert areas. And then they were analyzed using a pattern recognition method with artificial intelligence, reports the CNRS. It is the official French investigative body (which participated in the investigation).
The study focused on trees with a crown size greater than 3 square meters. Therefore, isolated trees in this region cover an area of 1.3 million square kilometers. About 2.5 times the area of France. The scientists also found that the size and density of the treetops depends heavily on the climate regime and land use.
These trees make an important contribution to local resources. They work with biodiversity and carbon storage. In addition, they play a crucial role in arid tropical ecosystems and agro-systems.
This work was published in Nature. The ability to take stock of all the non-forest trees on the planet is outstanding for assessing their contribution to environmental problems. The next time you go there, you can already have fun counting the trees of the Sahara. And gratefully seek refuge under his shadow.