More trees thanks to humans, climate change - study

Contrary to popular belief, more of the world is covered in trees than 35 years ago, a new study has found.

Researchers in the US looked at data collected by weather satellites between 1982 and 2016, and found while some parts of the world have indeed lost trees, it's been more than made up for by growth elsewhere.

There was, in 2016, about 2.24 million square kilometres more tree cover than in 1982, - approximately the size of Texas and Alaska combined, or eight times the size of New Zealand.

"This overall net gain is the result of a net loss in the tropics being outweighed by a net gain in the extratropics," the study, published in the journal Nature, says.

The research found humans are the biggest cause of both de-forestation and re-forestation. Global warming also played a part, by making tundra and mountainous regions better places for trees to grow.

The New Zealand Government has an ambitious plan to plant 1 billion new trees by 2027, to help fight climate change, provide jobs and diversify the country's economy.


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