Ever since the 1900s, roughly 200 different tree species have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest, each year. A new study revealed that, to record all species of trees which grow in the Amazon forest would take three hundred years to do.
To date, almost 12,000 different types of trees have been discovered in the South American jungle by nature explorers. It’s taken them 300 years to find all these species, but the new study shows that another 300 years are needed for an exhaustive catalog of Amazon tree species.
Nigel Pitman, study author, and ecologists says that many new species have been discovered yearly, since the 1900 and believes that 4000 species are yet to be discovered. The real statistic for tree species could be around 16,000 different types.
The team of experts analyzed nearly 500,000 digital photos of flowers, leaves and fruits and comprised a list of every known species in the rainforest, the first of this magnitude.
Before this study, humanity did not have a list of trees in the Amazon. This list will allow for better cataloging of the species, finding out what they are and where they’ve been found.
The findings were published on Wednesday in the Scientific Reports Journal. Data has been collected from samples that go as far back as 1707, and the most recent are from 2015. The list now created was possible because of the worldwide web, which helped classify most of the museum information across the world.
The team worked to create an index, much like a wiki available to other researchers to critique and contribute to.
Rare species, which have not yet been digitized, could be hiding in museum drawers or still get away undiscovered in the Amazon. For now, we can’t know them all. More and more museums are putting their collections on the web.
The checklist could give researchers a better idea of what’s growing in the Amazon basin. This is going to lead to boosting conservation efforts.
The Amazon basin is home to the last few tribes in the world. There are fears that if these people were integrated into mainstream society, they would be susceptible to catching all kinds of diseases. Even a common cold could kill them, as their organisms aren’t well adapted to modern life.
Image Source – Pixabay