Watch: How Europe is greener now than 100 years ago

Watch: How Europe is greener now than 100 years ago, by Rick Novak. Go to the link and watch the graphic.

A team of scientists has now been able to visualize the impact of historical events in maps that show the growth and decline of settlements, forests and croplands. …

More than 100 years ago, timber was used for almost everything: as fuel wood, for metal production, furniture, house construction. Hence, at around 1900 there was hardly any forest areas left in Europe. Especially after World War II, many countries started massive afforestation programs which are still running today.

As a result, Europe’s forests grew by a third over the last 100 years. At the same time, cropland decreased due to technological innovations such as motorization, better drainage and irrigation systems: Relatively fewer area was needed to produce the same amount of food. Furthermore, many people migrated from rural to urban areas, or overseas.

Fuchs’ fascinating conclusion: Forests and settlements grew at the same time and Europe is a much greener continent today than it was 100 years ago. A closer look at different regions and countries reveals Europe’s recovery from the deforestation of past centuries.

Gosh, why didn’t anyone mention that before? Not politically correct perhaps? In addition, satellites show that since 1980 the amount of green biomass worldwide has increased by at least 6%, despite land-clearing in the Amazon and Indonesia.

In eastern Europe, many forests re-grew after the end of the Soviet Union. Fuchs and his colleagues explain the development with the fact that many privatized agricultural farms were less competitive on the global market. Therefore, farmers abandoned unprofitable cropland. Particularly in Romania and Poland, former cropland was taken back by nature afterward, first turning into grassland and later into forests.

So leftist economic policies are bad for the environment too? Who knew?