India and China are leading a global greening effort, which is totally in contradiction with global perceptions around the world, said Monday the latest NASA study, saying the world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago.
A NASA study, based on data received and analyzed by satellite, said India and China are leading environmental greening. "China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the earth's surface area covered by vegetation," said lead author Chi Chen of Boston University.
"This is a surprising finding when we take into account the general notion of land degradation in populated countries from over-exploitation," he said.
A study published on February 11 in Nature Sustainability reported that recent satellite data (2000-2017) reveals an ecological pattern that is prominently prominent in China and India and overlaps with mountains all over the world.
China itself accounts for 25% of the world's net increase in leaf area, with only 6.6% of the world's vegetation.
The recovery in China is from the forest (42%) and arable land (32%), but in India it is mostly from agricultural crops (82%), with a small contribution of forests (4.4%), according to NASA.
China is ambitious engineering programs to protect and expand forests in order to mitigate soil degradation, air pollution and climate change.
Food production in China and India has increased by more than 35% since 2000, mainly due to the increase in harvested areas due to more crops, facilitated by the use of fertilizers and irrigation of surface and / or groundwater.
"When we first watched the Green Earth, we thought it was because of the warmer, humid climate and the inoculation of added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said Rama Nemani, research scientist at Ames NASA, and co-founder of the study.
This study was made possible by recording two-decade data from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on NASA Terra and Aqua. "Now we see with MODIS data that people are also contributing," she said.
Note that once people realize that there is a problem they tend to correct, Nemani said in the seventies and eighties in India and China the situation around the vegetation loss was not good.
"In the 1990s, people have become aware of it and things are getting better today, people are incredibly resilient, that's what we see in satellite data," she said.
Depending on how the greening trend changes in the future, it depends on many factors.
For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by irrigation of groundwater. If groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.
Researchers have also pointed out that green growth around the world does not necessarily compensate for the loss of natural vegetation in tropical areas such as Brazil and Indonesia. There are consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems that go beyond the simple green of the landscape, says a research study.