Around 50 to 200 different species of tree has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest each year since the 1900s .
A new study has estimated that, to record all the vast species of trees found in the Amazon rainforest, would take around three centuries to complete.
Up until now, nearly 12,000 different types of tree have been discovered in the South American forest by explorers which has taken almost 300 years so far to find, but the new study by scientists from the Field Museum of Natural History believes it will take at least another 300 years to fully complete.
Study author and ecologist in tropical forests, Nigel Pitman states that 50 to 200 new species of tree has been discovered each year since the 1900s and believes around 4000 species have been found but are yet to be documented so the true number could be around 16,000 so far discovered.
The team analyzed over 500,000 digitized photos taken of flowers, fruits and leaves and compiled the first list of every (so far) known species of tree in the rainforest and claims it is the first of its kind.
“Before this paper we didn’t have a list of Amazonian trees,” stated Pitman. “With this list we are answering ‘How many species have been found?’ and ‘What are they?’”
Admitting that the list isn’t necessarily comprehensive and completely accurate, the team say it is there as a basis list for others to add to it – a sort of wiki that other researchers can contribute to and critique.
“What cracks me up about this paper is that it’s a bunch of ecologists who got impatient and said ‘Let’s see if we can make a quick checklist and see what we get.’ This is an effort to pull together this 300-year-long research on this incredibly diverse region and convert it into a simple tool that anybody can use,” Pitman said. “It’s the best we can do now for someone who wants to know what trees have been collected in the Amazon.”
The study and its details were published in Nature’s journal Scientific Reports.