India and China are leading the global greening effort, which is somewhat opposed to global perception around the world, a recent NASA study said, noting that the world is a greener place 20 years ago.
The NASA study based on data received and analyzed by its satellite said that India and China are driving land-based environmentalization. "China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the land covered with vegetation," said lead author Chi Chen of the University of Boston.
Good news for green thumbs: the world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago. 🌏 Data from satellites @NASAEarth show that human activity in China and India dominates this greening of the planet, thanks to the planting of trees and agriculture. Get the data: https://t.co/8LRXR7xcpS pic.twitter.com/UlyXhzA9Uq
̵1; NASA (@NASA) 12 February 2019
"This is a surprising result, considering the general notion of soil degradation in populous countries that are over-exploited, "he said.
The study published February 11 in the journal Nature Sustainability said that recent satellite data (2000-2017) reveal an ecologic model that is extraordinarily prominent in China and India and overlaps with the cultivated lands of the whole world.
China alone accounts for 25% of the global net increase in the leaf area with only 6.6% of the global plant area.
Greening in China comes from forests (42 percent) and cultivated land (32 percent), but in India, it is largely from crops (82 percent) with a smaller contribution from forests ( 4.4 percent), said the NASA study.
China is ambitious programs to conserve and expand forests with the goal of mitigating land degradation, air pollution and climate change.
Food production in China and India has increased by over 35% since 2000 mainly due to an increase in the collection area through multiple crops facilitated by the use of fertilizers and surface and / or underground irrigation .
"When the Earth's greening was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, more humid climate and carbon dioxide fertilization added to the atmosphere," Rama Nemani said. , researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center. and a co-author of the study.
This study was made possible thanks to a two-year data record on MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. "Now with the data of MODIS, we see that humans are contributing," he said
Noting that once people realize that there is a problem, they tend to solve it, Nemani said over the years '70 and & '80 in India and China, the situation around the loss of vegetation was not good.
"In the 90s, people noticed, and today things have improved, humans are incredibly resilient, which is what we see in satellite data," he said.
According to the document, how the trend towards ecology could change in the future depends on numerous factors.
For example, the increase in food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If groundwater is depleted, this trend may change, he said.
Researchers also pointed out that greenness gains around the world do not necessarily compensate for the loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions such as Brazil and Indonesia. There are consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems beyond the simple green of the landscape, says the research study.