Yesterday I posted an update on the interminable and undeterable march of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer through Ohio. In the related story, it was stated:
The emerald ash borer is an invasive species from Asia that destroys vital tissue beneath the bark. State officials estimate there are 3.8 billion ash trees in Ohio.
This number sounded high to me (considering that NASA estimates there are 400 billion trees worldwide). Rather than do my own research I decided to ask a resident forestry, environmental, carbon and climate change economics expert, Dr. Brent Sohngen.
Here's the exchange:
Me: Does this strike you as odd? “State officials estimate there are 3.8 billion ash trees in Ohio.”
Brent: No that’s probably right. They are all over the forests. This probably counts lots of little trees.
Me: NASA says 400 billion trees worldwide. 1% of world trees are Ohio Ash?
Brent: You’re right. They’re off by an order of magnitude. USFS says 283 million ash trees in Ohio…
Lesson learned: I was right. Just like every argument I have at home. Only the exact opposite.
The USFS Forest Inventory can be found here: It looks like either the reporter or the state official confused the total number of trees in Ohio (4 billion) with the number of Ash trees in Ohio (283 million).