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ENVIRONMENTNASA: China, India Make the Earth Greener

Maureen SantosFebruary 15, 20194536 min

Can we stop climate change just by planting trees?

A NASA study reported that China and India, are responsible for the biggest growth in green vegetation. These two countries have contributed to make the Earth greener based on the satellite representation published in the journal Nature Sustainability.

For the past decades, Earth’s forest areas have grown by 5% or more than two million square miles. According to NASA, the said zone corresponds to the overall summation of the  Amazon rainforests.

China and India added a third to the planet’s increase in foliage. This is because of the enforcement of major tree planting projects aside from a massive surge in agriculture.

Chi Chen said that China and India are responsible for one-third of the greening.  However, they consist only 9% of the world’s land area covered in vegetation which is a surprising discovery, considering the general concept of land wasting away in overpopulated countries from overexploitation.

Chen is the study’s lead author and at the same time, a graduate researcher at Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment. He works with co-author Rama Nemani who is also a researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

From 2000 to 2017, NASA’s sensor called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), collected data of the planet’s exterior while onboard the two satellites, Terra and Aqua.

Nemani said, “Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing,” Nemani said. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.”

The initial observation of the Earth greening made the researchers believed that it was due to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that made the climate warmer and wetter while fertilizing at the same time which promoted the massive leaf development.

Researchers found out that China provides a quarter of the increase in the foliage zone to think that the country only has  6.6% of the Earth’s vegetated area. Forests contribute 42% of the growth while farmlands account for 32%. India provided 6.8% in green foliage area, with a supporting 82% from farmlands and 4.4% from forests.

The two most-populated countries developed a considerable accumulation in food production. The practice of “multiple cropping” yielded large volumes of grains, fruits, vegetables and others reaching 35 to 40% since 2000 to sustain their huge and growing population. The farming procedure made sure that the fields are replanted to have a continuous supply of crops all year long that made the Earth greener.

The study found out that China mostly contributed to make Earth greener. It is followed by India, the EU, Canada, Russia, Australia, the United States, and Mexico, respectively. Human effort has been proven as a key driver to the increased greening of the Earth and is necessary to be accredited into climate models.

It will benefit researchers in establishing better forecasts regarding the behavior of various Earth systems, which will facilitate countries around the world to make better accords regarding how and when action must be done.

However, the accumulation in the greenery both in China and India does not compensate for the severe disappearance of natural vegetation in tropical areas like Indonesia and Brazil.

Maureen Santos

She lets everyone become aware of what is happening to our beloved planet Earth and its inhabitants. She can take you beyond the space and find out how neighbor planets are doing. Moreover, she would open your eyes to the things what makes the Earth suffer including the living species and allow you to decide what you can do to help save the planet and the future generation.

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