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China and India lead in greening of the world through land-use management

Chen, C and Park, T and Wang, X and Piao, S and Xu, B and Chaturvedi, RK and Fuchs, R and Brovkin, V and Ciais, P and Fensholt, R and Tømmervik, H and Bala, G and Zhu, Z and Nemani, RR and Myneni, RB (2019) China and India lead in greening of the world through land-use management. In: Nature Sustainability, 2 (2). pp. 122-129. ISSN 2398-9629

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0220-7


Abstract Satellite data show increasing leaf area of vegetation due to direct factors (human land-use management) and indirect factors (such as climate change, CO2 fertilization, nitrogen deposition and recovery from natural disturbances). Among these, climate change and CO2 fertilization effects seem to be the dominant drivers. However, recent satellite data (2000–2017) reveal a greening pattern that is strikingly prominent in China and India and overlaps with croplands world-wide. China alone accounts for 25% of the global net increase in leaf area with only 6.6% of global vegetated area. The greening in China is from forests (42%) and croplands (32%), but in India is mostly from croplands (82%) with minor contribution from forests (4.4%). China is engineering ambitious programmes to conserve and expand forests with the goal of mitigating land degradation, air pollution and climate change. Food production in China and India has increased by over 35% since 2000 mostly owing to an increase in harvested area through multiple cropping facilitated by fertilizer use and surface- and/or groundwater irrigation. Our results indicate that the direct factor is a key driver of the ‘Greening Earth’, accounting for over a third, and probably more, of the observed net increase in green leaf area. They highlight the need for a realistic representation of human land-use practices in Earth system models.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Nature Sustainability
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Additional Information: The copyright of the article belongs to the Author(s).
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2022 10:11
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2022 10:11
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/77748

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