Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The number of trees lost to urban sprawl in the US has been the subject of heated debate
The United States is losing 36 million trees a year, a study has found.
On average, huge swathes of America’s interior are losing trees faster than anywhere else in the world.
The figures for the US came from a review of records of where trees are growing in different cities.
The study pointed to urban sprawl and land clearing for industrial and residential use as the culprits.
In a statement, the researchers said: “The US has lost 40% of its forests in the last 100 years, mainly through forest fragmentation through development and logging – a form of climate change which is contributing to drought, heat waves, toxic weather patterns, and wildfires.
“From fiscal years 2005 to 2010, the US lost 74 million trees.”
Their study, published in The Journal of Urban Ecology, comes after months of outcry in the US and Britain about the negative impact of human activity on forests and wildlife.
In 2016, the US State Department’s Interagency Forest Planning and Management Project released a study which found that cutting down trees increased warming of the global climate.
Trees provide a number of services, from filtering out pollution and absorbing carbon dioxide to giving oxygen and helping create habitats for birds and other wildlife.