Saturday, November 18, 2006
China and the U.S. have achieved the greatest overall forest expansion, the team says, while tree cover has spread fastest in China, Vietnam, and Spain.
Asia as a whole is shown to have gained 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of forest between 2000 and 2005.
"Earth has suffered an epidemic of deforestation," said co-researcher Jesse Ausubel, from Rockefeller University in New York City.
"Now humans may help spread an epidemic of forest restoration."
Ausubel said the trend identified in the study could "stop the styling of a skinhead Earth" and lead to a 10 percent increase in global forest cover—an area the size of India—by 2050.
The team reports its findings this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This encouraging picture of global forest growth comes from an international research team that studied data from a 2005 forest-resources assessment by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The team advocates "a more sophisticated approach" to measuring forest cover.Continued
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