It isn’t often that environmental scientists get good news. But a new study in Nature Climate Change found that for the past few years, the earth has been getting a little bit greener, accumulating an additional 4 tons of biomass (vegetation) between 2003 and 2012. That’s a good thing, because plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, locking harmful greenhouse gas away in the new growth.
Now to burst your carbonated bubble; this study wasn’t looking at a direct connection between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and plant growth. Even if the extra plants make a difference, the fact is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been rising steadily for decades.
The additional green came from a few places: In former Soviet countries, forest started to grow back over farmland, while in China, massive tree planting campaigns seemed to do the trick. The researchers also found that more arid areas had a lot of vegetation as well, including shrubs in savannas in Africa, Australia, and South America.
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SOURCE: Popular Science, Mary Beth Griggs