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Journal Articles Nature Reviews Earth & Environment Year : 2019

Characteristics, drivers and feedbacks of global greening

Shilong Piao
  • Function : Author
Xuhui Wang
  • Function : Author
Taejin Park
  • Function : Author
Chi Chen
  • Function : Author
Xu Lian
  • Function : Author
Yue He
  • Function : Author
Jarle W. Bjerke
  • Function : Author
Anping Chen
  • Function : Author
Hans Tømmervik
  • Function : Author
Ramakrishna R. Nemani
  • Function : Author
Ranga B. Myneni
  • Function : Author


Vegetation greenness has been increasing globally since at least 1981, when satellite technology enabled large-scale vegetation monitoring. The greening phenomenon, together with warming, sea-level rise and sea-ice decline, represents highly credible evidence of anthropogenic climate change. In this Review, we examine the detection of the greening signal, its causes and its consequences. Greening is pronounced over intensively farmed or afforested areas, such as in China and India, reflecting human activities. However, strong greening also occurs in biomes with low human footprint, such as the Arctic, where global change drivers play a dominant role. Vegetation models suggest that CO2 fertilization is the main driver of greening on the global scale, with other factors being notable at the regional scale. Modelling indicates that greening could mitigate global warming by increasing the carbon sink on land and altering biogeophysical processes, mainly evaporative cooling. Coupling high temporal and fine spatial resolution remote-sensing observations with ground measurements, increasing sampling in the tropics and Arctic, and modelling Earth systems in more detail will further our insights into the greening of Earth.

Dates and versions

insu-03721871 , version 1 (13-07-2022)



Shilong Piao, Xuhui Wang, Taejin Park, Chi Chen, Xu Lian, et al.. Characteristics, drivers and feedbacks of global greening. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 2019, 1, pp.14-27. ⟨10.1038/s43017-019-0001-x⟩. ⟨insu-03721871⟩
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