Two edged: the reason for the expanding greening is increasing yields in agriculture – which require fertilizer and increased irrigation.
Photo: Markus Breig, KIT

28.02.2019

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Intensive agriculture in China and India is making a decisive contribution to the greening of the Earth. Researchers are dubious about this, as the growth in biomass is the result in part of increased use of fertilizer and water.

The Earth is getting greener, and intensive agriculture and forestry by humans have played a major role for decades in the growth of foliage and biomass. This was reported in February 2019 by an international team of researchers from the USA, China, India, France, Denmark, Norway and Germany, several of whom are authors of articles in reports of the World Climate Council. 

According to the announcement, China and India account for around one third of the Earth’s greening, although the two emerging nations have only nine per cent of vegetated global surface area. This conclusion is derived from high-quality NASA satellite data.

According to the researchers, it has long been known that the Earth is getting greener, but it was previously assumed that the increased content of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere was encouraging plant growth. In this case, it would have been reasonable to assume that greening would be relatively equal all around the globe.

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