There are 14 percent more tree species than previously assumed, according to what researchers are calling the first “scientifically credible” estimate. Experts say that 9,200 of the estimated 73,300 species have yet to be discovered.

The bulk of rare species, on the other hand, are found in tropical forests, which are quickly disappearing as a result of climate change and deforestation. The study relies on a database that includes tens of millions of trees from over 100,000 forest plots all around the world. The findings, according to lead researcher Dr. Peter Reich of the University of Minnesota in St Paul, “highlight the vulnerability of global forest biodiversity.” “Our data will help us assess where biodiversity is the most threatened,” he told in an interview. Throughout the tropics and subtropics of South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, the researchers discovered hotspots of known and unknown rare species. “Knowing about these hotspots, hopefully, can help prioritize future conservation efforts,” Dr. Peter Reich adds.

Natural forests with a diverse range of species are the healthiest and most productive, and they are essential to the global economy and the environment. The great majority of deforestation occurs in tropical countries, where it is primarily fueled by the production of components for Western cuisines.