News ID: 219692
Published: 0804 GMT August 11, 2018

Global tree cover has increased seven percent since 1982

Global tree cover has increased seven percent since 1982
Published by bigthink.com

Amid growing urbanization, deforestation and agricultural expansion, it’s long been thought the number of trees across the planet is being reduced.

However, that belief is probably wrong, according to new figures, independent.co.uk wrote.

The biggest ever analysis of global land change has discovered there are more trees across the earth today than there were 36 years ago.

The study, published in the journal Nature this month, shows trees now cover seven percent more of the earth’s surface —  roughly 2.24 million square kilometers — than they did in 1982.

“This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics,” the report stated.

The study, led by scientists from the University of Maryland, in the US, analyzed 35 years’ worth of satellite data to provide the most comprehensive picture ever made of the changing use of land.

However, if this sounds like positive news, it should probably be met with caution.

Tree loss in the tropics is caused by agricultural expansion, while the new growth areas is in regions which were previously too cold to support such flourishing life, suggesting global warming is causing previously unidentified changes to the planet’s landscapes.

The study, which took two years to compile, also found the earth’s bare ground cover — natural vegetation — has decreased by more than three percent, most notably in agricultural areas of Asia.

It stated that 60 percent of all change appears to be directly driven by human activity. Of the remaining 40 percent, the study suggested, most of the change can be attributed to indirect results of human actions.

“The mapped land changes and the driver attributions reflect a human-dominated Earth system,” it concluded.

 

   
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