Contact: Morgan Kelly
Caption: From 1862-2005, human influence on the land spread (white areas, with cyan areas indicating undisturbed land), but during the mid-20th century humans significantly changed how they use the land. People have increasingly restored forests and adopted agriculture that, while larger scale, is higher yield, the researchers found. Many of the white areas correlate with the green, carbon-absorbing areas indicated on the animation above. As human land-use changed, industries and automobiles continued to steadily emit carbon dioxide that contributed to a botanical boom that further removed carbon from the atmosphere. Although a greenhouse gas and pollutant, carbon dioxide also is a plant nutrient.
Credit: Video by Sergey Malyshev, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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Related news release: Without plants, Earth would cook under billions of tons of additional carbon