Aliens steal all our trees. Nothing else happened, just all the trees are gone. Everything not part of the tree was left where it was (apples are stolen, termites are not.)

What would be the short term and long term consequences of this.

  • $\begingroup$ Just trees, or all plants? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jun 3 '15 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ Your aliens are evil. $\endgroup$ – Jimmy360 Jun 3 '15 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ Gonna miss good old days putting out forest fire. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jun 3 '15 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ Just out of curiosity, exactly why would the aliens do this? $\endgroup$ – DevilApple227 Sep 1 '16 at 16:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Some politician on planet Xeophysri decided "Hey, you know what would be fun to do? Steal all the trees off a planet to help make Xeophysri great again!" $\endgroup$ – DevilApple227 Sep 1 '16 at 16:57

Animals and plants

Without trees pretty much all shelter for animals would be gone, so wildlife would suffer a lot. I take it that shrubs and other plants would still be here, so they would still have food and some shelter. Species that live in mountains and in fields would probably not suffer as much as the ones that live in forests. Plants and fungi that require shelter from trees or that live in symbiosis with a tree would also suffer a lot, most of these species would probably die out.

Food and fuel

Especially in third world countries the lack of food (fruit etc.) and fuel from trees would worsen their situation quite a lot. In these areas they would go on to burning e.g. shrubs instead of trees. All over the world we would also start burning more coal, oil, gas etc. and speed up global warming even more. Fossil fuel prices would skyrocket.

Shelter and erosion

Trees also shelter us from storms and sounds, so it would be a bit more windy, especially close to the sea, and noisy to those who live by the road and near industry. The main reason for the Sahara desert not spreading more than it does is also trees. So we would in time see more desert lands. The roots of the trees also stops erosion. Steep hills would for example start eroding and falling apart. These areas would be quite dangerous places and people would have to move away from these areas. Trees also protect us from floods and areas prone to floods would erode as well.

Air and weather

Trees filter pollutants from the air so we would be much unhealthier. As stated in Jimmy360's answer there would also be less oxygen produced. Trees also help keeping it cool in summer. They shades us and our buildings from the sun, so summer would feel even hotter.

Building materials

We would start using more stone, bricks and concrete etc. Wooden houses would maybe even be brought down for use in industry.

Regrowing trees

For trees to grow large it takes about 60-70 years (after that time pine trees are large enough to be cut down for industry). If there was still seeds on Earth we could regrow our trees, but then it would probably be a very valuable resource both recreationally and in industry.

Any positive effects? People with pollen allergies would probably be quite happy..?

  • $\begingroup$ Would anything grow in place of the trees (before the new trees grew?) $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jun 3 '15 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ Probably something, but most would not. If the shrubs, plants and fungi had some other shelter from erosion/wind/rain (Rocks, mountains, hills etc.), that area would probably be more diverse. If you look at a clear cut area in the forest today, you will notice plants like moss, shrubs (like blueberry and lingonberry) and maybe just a few species of flower. You won't of course find any plants there that need habitats such as old forests etc. (My experience is with forests in northern Europe, in case that makes any difference.) $\endgroup$ – Niffler Jun 4 '15 at 9:20
  • $\begingroup$ Also, another thing that came to mind: Some shrubs can grow up to 6 m (20 ft) tall so they would at least provide some protection for other plants and could maybe replace trees to some extent. $\endgroup$ – Niffler Jun 4 '15 at 9:22

Only about 10 - 20% of our oxygen comes from trees. From an oxygen standpoint, we would be fine. Most of it comes from picoplankton. However, this would destroy the paper, lumber, and agricultural industries. Many animals would be shelterless and without food. They would die. This would put the earth into a major depression, but we would survive.

  • $\begingroup$ Do we need that 10 - 20%? $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Jun 3 '15 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ @PyRulez No, we do not need it. $\endgroup$ – Jimmy360 Jun 3 '15 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ I think you mean blue-green algae or phytoplankton in general, not picoplankton. Picoplankton are a subset of plankton and, of that subset, there is only a portion that use photosynthesis. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jun 3 '15 at 17:47

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