African deserts look like totally arid and deprived areas of vegetation. However, a new study shows the presence of a large number of trees in this lonely area.
Scientist Martin Brandt and his colleagues, from the Netherland’s University of Copenhagen, analyzed about 11,128 satellite images with a resolution of 0.5 meters. They used deep learning algorithms to map trees in an area of approximately 1.3 million square kilometers, encompassing the Sahara desert of West Africa, the hyper-arid region of the Sahél and a sub-humid area to the south.
As a result of the study, scientists discovered more than 1.800 million trees with an average crown size of 12 square meters.
According to the scientists, mentioned by the journal Nature, this finding “challenges the predominant narrative about the desertification of drylands, and even the desert shows a surprisingly high density of trees.”
“We offer here the technique and evidence that it is possible to map and measure each tree,” Brandt says.
The methods used in their study could also be used to see how trees are planted, such as the Great Green Wall of Sahara, the researchers point out.