The Earth is facing a climate crisis, but it’s also getting greener and leafier. According to new research, the rise is largely courtesy of China and India.
The data, which compared satellite images from the mid-1990s taken by Boston University and those collected from two NASA satellites orbiting the earth for 20 years, showed that both China and India are leading the way in the greening of the globe.
NASA used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to get a detailed picture of Earth’s global vegetation through time. The technique provided up to 500-meter resolution for the past two decades.
India continues to break world records in tree planting, with 800,000 Indians planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours.
After further investigation of the satellite imagery, the researchers found that greening was disproportionately located in China and India. If the greening was primarily a response from climate change and a warming planet, the increased vegetation shouldn’t be limited to country borders. In addition, higher latitude regions should become greener faster than lower latitudes as permafrost melts and areas like northern Russia become more habitable.
The United States sits at number 7 in the total change in vegetation percent by decade. Of course, the chart below can hide where each country started. For example, a country that largely kept their forests and vegetation intact would have little room to increase percent vegetation whereas a country that heavily relied on deforestation would have more room to grow.