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Carbon Calculator for Every Tree on Earth

CTrees is a non-profit that uses artificial intelligence to track trees around the world, providing a crucial tool for countries, companies, and nonprofits that want to measure carbon.

Aerial view of a small island covered in trees

CTrees uses artificial intelligence to track exactly how much CO2 the world’s three trillion trees are storing, thereby determining the extent to which trees are helping the planet. Last year, researchers estimated that trees worldwide stored approximately 400 billion tons of carbon.

CTrees, which was developed by a team of NASA scientists, has a very simple motto: “see the forest and the tree.” It does just that by using AI to analyze satellite and aerial data combined with local data from inventories of trees to account for every tree on the planet.

The new platform can see when trees are cut down or lost to fires by using new satellite images to keep a running estimate of the total carbon. It also sees tree growth.

The methods, which were built upon two decades of science, “come close to the accuracy of the gold standard” of on-the-ground measurement according to Sassan Saatchi, a senior scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who is helping lead the CTrees.

CTrees not only has the capability to look at the big, global picture but is also able to take a closer look at specific projects and data in different regions or countries. It can even zoom in on individual trees thanks to high-resolution data from commercial satellites.

The CTrees website will offer the annual forest data for free. The information includes global and national numbers.


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