Amazon Rainforest: Discovery of All Tree Species will Take 300 Years; More than 11,600 Species Recorded So Far; Pope to Visit Amazon Next Year

Discovery of All Amazon Rainforest Tree Species Will Take 300 Years and Pope Francis Will Be Visiting Next Year

Amazon rainforest
Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest |

Other than the rare, exotic creatures that live in it, the Amazon rainforest is largely known for having tree species that were never found anywhere else. Amazon-lily, dead-bark, wild nutmeg, Purple cecropia, and Water-vine are only a few of the 11,676 plant species discovered in the rainforest.

Around 4,000 Tree Species Are Yet to Be Discovered

In 2013, a team of Field Museum scientists estimated that there are about 16,000 tree species in total in the controversial rainforest. This has been an estimation in thought and not by vision and yet the results of their study revealed the numbers might be just as they predicted.

"Before this paper we didn't have a list of Amazonian trees," noted tropical forest ecologist Nigel Pitman, one of the study authors. "We interpret this to mean that our 2013 estimate of 16,000 species is good, and that about 4,000 of the rarest Amazonian trees remain to be discovered and described."

The team have gathered data from looking at more than half a million museum specimens collected in the Amazon between 1707 and 2015. They also found that around 50 to 200 species are discovered every year.

"Our analysis suggests that we won't be done discovering new tree species there for three more centuries." Pitman said. 

Pope to Visit Brazil's Patron Saint Next Year

Pope Francis has been vocal about his interest in the Amazon region since his papacy began. "He wants to go [to the Amazon], but his wish alone is not enough," said Bishop Leonardo Steiner, one of Brazil's top Catholic leaders.

Next year will be his chance to experience the region's rich culture and environment as Brazil will be celebrating the 300th anniversary of a small statue of the Virgin Mary which is their patron saint. The statue was said to be discovered by country fishermen in the small village of Nossa Senhora Aparecida, a place that turned into a popular pilgrimage site.

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