Tree cover increased globally over the past 35 years, finds a paper published in the journal Nature. The study, led by Xiao-Peng Song and Matthew Hansen of the University of Maryland, is based on analysis of satellite data from 1982 to 2016. The research found that tree cover loss on the tropics was outweighed by tree cover gain in subtropical, temperate, boreal, and polar regions. However all the tree cover data comes with an important caveat: tree cover is not necessarily forest cover. Despite ongoing deforestation, fires, drought-induced die-offs, and insect outbreaks, the world’s tree cover actually increased by 2.24 million square kilometers — an area the size of Texas and Alaska combined — over the past 35 years, finds a paper published in the journal Nature . But the research also confirms large-scale loss of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems, especially tropical forests. The study, led by Xiao-Peng Song and Matthew Hansen of the University of Maryland, is based on analysis of satellite data from 1982 to 2016. The researchers broke land cover into three categories: tall vegetation consisting of trees of at least five meters (16 feet) in height; short vegetation under five meters in height including […]

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