I love trees and forests. I adore the smell of springtime birches when the leaves are still light green and small. I love how the tall skinny pines sound in the wind in the dry moor forests in Finland. I miss the sound of aspen leaves. I love the shadows and shades the leafy trees in Massachusetts create and offer and the massive maple trees that we have in our yard. I always get emotional if I find a “Finnish forest” from Northern New England. I was excited to see some of the forests of North Carolina. To me, those were almost like jungles. How many times did I play under massive spruce when I was a kid? How about the summer job I had as a teen when I was planting new trees in a logging field.
I was supposed to continue the Top 5 stories, but the trees keep on hanging in my mind. Even more powerfully since I watched the new documentary movie ‘Kiss the Ground ‘ from Netflix today (I will make a post about soil later). I recommend watching that one! It is not a depressing documentary, and it shows that we have opportunities available to save the planet and our future if we understand the situation and are willing to try.
So personally, trees and forests mean a lot to me. But why should we all love, protect, and value them? ‘What’s in them for us?’ (the most common humane question about anything.)
‘Trees make oxygen! ‘Forests are the lungs of the planet’ That is what we learn in the first grade or so. 2-3 years later, we learn about photosynthesis. That explains more. Trees and all the greens take CO2 and water, and by the power from the Sunlight, they create oxygen and sugar. That is the simplified version. But trees are beneficial in so many ways that they are a necessity to our lives and this planet. Here is what else they do additionally to producing oxygen.
Trees fight against climate change by absorbing excess Carbon dioxide (CO2). They take CO2 from the air, store the carbon, and release the oxygen. The situation with greenhouse gases is so critical that it is not enough anymore to stop emitting those. We additionally need to start to absorb the excess back to the vegetation and soil – where it belongs – and one way this can happen is by increasing the amount of the plants on Earth, including trees. Trees also clean the air we breathe. The leaves, needles, and bark catch dust and particles, and filter pollutants and contaminants.
Trees prevent flooding and soil erosion and lessen water pollution. They reduce the runoff into the water systems (such as streams, sewers, lakes, rivers, and oceans). The roots hold the soil in place, and the branches and leaves slow down the rain, giving the Earth surface more time to absorb the pouring water. The shades of trees also reduce the evaporation of water from the lawns and soil.
Trees and forests create a habitat for wildlife – plants and animals. Deforestation has led to approx. 36% of all the extinctions and it is the greatest risk to biodiversity at the moment.
Trees provide food – fruits and different kind of nuts – wood, and useful materials, such as paper. They help to cool urban areas and can lower the humidity levels by absorbing vaporous moisture. We can also plant trees the way that they block direct Sunlight and wind to the buildings – that way we can save with AC and heating expenses.
These were not all the ways how the trees benefit us and the world. But their role is quite impressive, isn’t it? Many factors, accelerated by humans, destroy our forests and trees. The most noticeable ones lately have been the forest and bushfires. What is alarming, the fire seasons begin earlier, they go on for longer, are more intense, and destroy more land. California, Oregon, and Washington states in the USA have been in flames – California worse than ever. The fires are leaving people homeless, killing animals, increasing greenhouse gases, and destroying kilometers of forests and grasslands.
The bush fire season in Australia earlier this year was worse than ever. Over 41.7 Million acres ( 16.9 million hectares of which 7.38 million hectares were temperate forests) of land areas burned, killing approximately a billion animals and 33 people, destroying homes and properties, and releasing 830 million tonnes of CO2.
If you want to help to plant a tree or two in California or somewhere else, one way is to purchase one of these bracelets (the USA only). You will also help to feed a child in need in Peru. Read more here!
Use the code TELLUSBLUE to get a 20% discount when you order!
Featured picture: The Tree of Life – Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL (by bluetellus)
Other pictures by: RS or bluetellus