Deep-Learning AI Just Found Nearly 2 Billion Trees in the Sahara Desert

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There are many more trees in the West African Sahara Desert than we thought, according to a recent study based on AI and satellite imagery and published in the journal Nature -- which found more than 1.8 billion trees in the Sahara Desert. Researchers have counted more than 1.8 billion trees and shrubs in the 501,933 square-mile (1.3 million square-kilometer) area -- in an area encompassing the western-most region of the Sahara Desert -- called the Sahel -- along with sub-humid zones of West Africa, reports The World Economic Forum. "We were very surprised to see that quite a few trees actually grow in the Sahara Desert, because up until now, most people thought that virtually none existed," said Professor Martin Brandt from the geosciences and natural resource management department of the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the recent study. "We counted hundreds of millions of trees in the desert alone. Doing so wouldn't have been possible without this technology," explained Brandt, according to a blog post on the University of Copenhagen's website.

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