The Earth is becoming more green, and that could be a breath of fresh air for those concerned about air pollution. In a peer reviewed study released last year, scientists said that satellite data shows increasing leaf area of vegetation around the globe. The areas showing the most greening appears to be in China and India, with China responsible for 25% of the global net increase in leaf area.
The study shows that a mix of new trees and crops are responsible for the greening-up of Earth. In China, most comes from forests (42%) and croplands (32%), but in India it is mostly from croplands (82%) with minor contribution from forests (4.4%). Food production in China and India has increased by over 35% since 2000 mostly owing to an increase in harvested area that now uses crop rotation techniques, modern fertilizer, and better irrigation.
And it looks like the amount of greenery around Earth will get a boost thanks to a new commitment from the United States. In his State of the Union Speech on February 4, President Trump said, “To protect the environment, days ago, I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together government and the private sector to plant new trees in America and all around the world.” Beyond planting a trillion trees, the Trillion Trees Initiative promises to “support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade.”
As part of the photosynthesis process, green plants and trees use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis in plants generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct. As a result, the growth of more plants and trees typically removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and replaces it with oxygen.