Fields and forests advancing more quickly than their removal

medium_Image, Young Eucalpypts reaching for the sky, 18 Feb, 2014.jpgA recent article published in the Australian newspaper (author John Ross) indicates that plants including forests are growing more quickly than people can cut them down.

An Australian-led analysis of satellite data has found the amount of carbon stored in plants has risen by almost 4 billion tonnes sine 2003 reflecting a surge in the biomass of global flora.

According to the Australian, the researchers found that natural growth in Northern Australia and Southern Africa had more than compensated for mass deforestation in hot spots such as the Amazon, Borneo and Sumatra. "The findings reflect a virtuous circle in the warming climate, with elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 speeding up photosynthesis and causing plants to capture more carbon".

Co-lead author Albert van Dijk from ANU, said that up until now scientists have focused on forested areas in their estimates of carbon uptake. This new study mapped total vegetation cover by measuring natural radio waves emitted from the Earth's surface and analysing how much radiation had passed through water imprisoned in plant matter.

The study analysed two decades of satellite data and took 10 years to complete