The world’s trees numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate.

Millions and millions of trees in North America have been reported to have died over the last few years, for a variety of different environmental issues that have culminated in a crisis.

The changing environment of the world and a steady decline in the nurturing of the rain forest has led to huge parts of the natural world becoming depleted. While trees are planted in some cases to make up for the huge numbers that are chopped down, it isn’t enough to replace the damage that is being done.

A new report published in the journal ‘Nature’, states that:

“15.3 billion trees are chopped down every year. It also estimates that 46% of the world’s trees have been cleared over the past 12,000 years”

While the world still gets to grips with recycling, many products we use every day contain paper from trees that is not recycled. Disposable coffee cups, kitchen towels and much of the wrapping that comes with foods never make it to the recycling plant, all of these need trees to continue to be produced.

As with many other environmental issues, it seems the world has walked blindly into the problem, not realizing how much damage we have been doing until it is too late. A huge emphasis is placed on the individual to recycle at home, but research suggests that it is really the multi-national corporations who must take the largest share of the blame.

As well as being cut down to serve as one-time packaging, or a single use coffee cup, many trees are dying for no reason at all – a condition known as ‘Sudden Oak Death’.

In 2010 a number of Hawaiian ‘ohia’ trees began to die of a condition that is still simply known as ‘ohia’s disease’. Botanists have been unable to get to the bottom of the disease and it is wreaking havoc on trees across the nation.

Thomas Crowther, one of the researchers in the study, from Yale University took over 400,000 measurements on trees across the nation. He spoke to Time about the negative effect human beings are having on the planet.

He said:

“The factors driving tree density vary dramatically across the biomes,”

“But the one feature that stayed consistent across all of them was the negative impact of humans.”

The negative impact that humans are having on the environment have been well documented.

Issues in Ecology reported:

“Natural ecosystems have been altered in various ways by nitrogen, sulfur, and mercury deposited in rain, snow, or as gases and particles in the atmosphere. Through decades of scientific research, scientists have documented how local, regional, and global sources of air pollution can produce profound changes in ecosystems.

These changes include acidification of soils and surface waters, harmful algal blooms and low oxygen conditions in estuaries, reduced diversity of native plants, high levels of mercury in fish and other wildlife, and decreased tolerance to other stresses, such as pests, disease, and climate change.”