India and China are leading the global greening effort, which is quite contrary to the general perception worldwide, a latest NASA study said, observing that the world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago.
“China and India account for one-third of the greening but contain only 9 per cent of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation,” said lead author Chi Chen of Boston University. “That is a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from over-exploitation,” he said.
The study published … in the journal Nature Sustainability said that recent satellite data reveal a greening pattern that is strikingly prominent in China and India and overlaps with croplands world-wide.
China alone accounts for 25 per cent of the global net increase in leaf area with only 6.6 per cent of global vegetated area. The greening in China is from forests (42 per cent) and croplands (32 per cent), but in India it is mostly from croplands (82 per cent) with minor contribution from forests (4.4 per cent), the NASA study said.
When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilisation from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and a co-author of the study. Now with the (new satellite) data, we see that humans are also contributing, she said.
Business Standard/Press Trust of India, Feb.12, 2019