Normally when we think of the world’s forests, we are flooded with stories of mass deforestation, wildfires and habitat loss. Though these events are still happening around the world, predominantly in South America and central Asia, there is still hope.
Recently, as in just this week, there has been research published in Nature Climate Change that leads ecologists and other scientists to believe that the planet is actually getting greener despite the trend of massive deforestation.
To explain this, think of it as a reforestation of areas that have long been missing the green plants that dominated the now threatened areas. Places like the shrub lands in Africa and some of the drier savannas are now becoming greener. Australia is also having a reemergence of green plants where little has grown before.
The best part of this is that the growth of this biomass in areas that have had trouble with it in the past means that it has nearly balanced out the loss of forest in other places like the ones I mentioned above. The information has been gathered by satellite of the past two decades and it shows that the earths above ground biomass or good for the planet green stuff has increased by nearly 4 billion tons of carbon. All living things are made up of carbon but the satellites only take into account the carbon from plant life.
What does this mean for Global Warming? It is a good and bad discovery as most things with the environment seem to be lately. What this expansion of green in places that have struggled means is that it can be slowed. The plants will absorb more of the CO2 in the air but we are still pushing far too much into the environment for even this burst of forests and shrub life to handle.
The only real solution is to stop burning fossil fuels and replant the old growth forests we are losing. The new growth is giving us a chance to make things right again with the world’s environment. It is going to be up to us to take advantage of it.