When we talk about the Sahel zone, about sub-Saharan Africa, we imagine a desert zone without vegetation and especially without trees. However, a study by the CNRS has just shown that there are many more trees there than we thought.
Observation of a region as large as four and a half times the size of France, with a resolution of 50 cm2 to count trees, had never been done before this study of NASA’s satellite images, by a CNRS team.
Surprise! Researchers have discovered nearly 2 billion trees in this space of more than 1 million km2, giving an average of between 13 and 14 trees per. Acres. Useful data related to climate change, as explained by Jérôme Chave, an ecologist at CNRS.
“This census makes it possible to take stock of the amount of carbon that the terrestrial biosphere stores, and it is really important to understand the carbon cycle, the fact that our greenhouse gas emissions are rising but the biosphere is able to partially buffer these emissions. And a good knowledge of the biosphere starts with a good knowledge of where the vegetation is.Today we describe the vegetation as large regions, for example the tropical forest, but we make maps that are very, very simple.We have forests where are trees, and where there are ecosystems that are not forests, where we imagine that there are no trees, and the reality is actually much more complex than that, ”he emphasizes.
If states want to develop positive strategies for the climate, it is important to know exactly the condition of the vegetation. Now it is up to scientists to include these new data in predictable climate models.