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Trees are some of the most helpful organisms on earth.

One large tree can supply a day's worth of oxygen for four people. They also absorb carbon dioxide, provide homes for animals, and make the nitrogen cycle happen, not to mention the whole "food and goods for human consumption" thing. No doubt about it, trees are pretty good at what they do.


Trees also make for excellent organic chairs. Photo by iStock.

And a new study revealed there are even more trees on Earth than we thought. A whole lot more.

The researchers found that there are over 3 TRILLION trees on Earth. That works out to be around 422 trees per person. Congrats, you just got yourself a tiny forest.

This is a huge deal, considering the previous tree tally, conducted in 2005 by Evergreen State College in Washington, only used NASA satellite imagery and found just 400 billion trees, which averaged out to a scant 61 trees a person.

Just some of Earth's 3,000,000,000,000 trees. And yes, I had to think long and hard about just how many zeroes that number required. Photo by iStock.

To arrive at that number, an international team of scientists combined two common methods: satellites and manually counting tree trunks.

You read that right. One of the most accurate ways for scientists to count trees is to actually go trunk-by-trunk and count them.

In this 2011 photo, a team from the Regional Office for Woodlands and Forestry in Germany count and catalog a selected section of forest. Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images.

The team, led by Dr. Thomas Crowther, an ecologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology who conducted the research while working at Yale University, first gathered the results of on the ground tree counts from every continent except Antarctica.

The various counts covered about 430,000 hectares (1,062 acres) worldwide, which may not sound like much, but when combined with satellite imagery, it gave the team a better estimate about the density of the forests and allowed them to make a more accurate count of the total number of trees on the planet.

Why is the tree count so important? It all comes back to conservation.

"It's not like we've discovered a load of new trees; it's not like we've discovered a load of new carbon," Crowther told BBC's "Science in Action."

"We're simply describing the state of the global forest system in numbers that people can understand and that scientists can use, and that environmental practitioners or policymakers can understand and use."

And hopefully, they will.

Trees on the island of Borneo are clear-cut to build a palm oil plantation. Photo by Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images.

Between poor forest management practices, deforestation, and land-use policies, humans have had a majorly negative impact on tree populations around the globe.

Crowther's team estimates the number of trees has decreased 46% since the dawn of human civilization.

While a more accurate count is great news, we're also not out of the woods yet.

As much as we all love trees, paper still makes up the largest percentage of municipal solid waste.

On average, the world uses an estimated 27,000 trees each day in toilet paper alone. And we're not much better when it comes to paper towels. They make up an estimated 20 to 40% of waste from dorms and office buildings.

Left: Trees are clear-cut to make way for a pulp and paper plantation in Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images. Right: Paper towels, anyone? Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr.

Knowing and understanding the tree count is the first step to saving these rapidly diminishing resources and developing sustainable solutions.

But there are still plenty of things you can do to help Earth's tree population grow and thrive.

And you don't have to replant billions of trees to do your part.

Start by choosing paper made from recycled material or from sustainable forests. Say no to paper and plastic at the store and bring a reusable bag. Even reducing your font one size before printing is a small change that can have a big impact.

#TreeFriendlyRelationshipGoals. Photo by iStock.

Making smart choices about the products we use and our personal habits may help spare our forests.

Because we may have 3 trillion trees on Earth, but we need every last one.

You can hear from Crowther himself, as he shares his method and findings in this short video from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies:

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

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At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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The study, conducted by sociologists at Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.

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