Trees are vital to sustain life on earth and are an integral part of Earth’s ecosystem. Why is it important to protect our forests and on planting new flora?
1. They Combat Climate Change
Greenhouse emissions are a major factor in climate change. The Environmental protection agency states that 65% of all global greenhouse emissions are CO2. Carbon Dioxide gases trap the sun’s heat and increase the Earth’s temperature. Trees help fight climate change by absorbing and removing the CO2 from the air. They then store the carbon and release oxygen.
A mature tree can absorb more than 22kg (48.5 lbs) of CO2 a year. In fact, in a year one hectare (2.5 acres) of forest can absorb the same amount of CO2 produced by driving 104,600 km (65,000 miles).
2. They Clean The Air
“Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases ([such as] nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark” (TreePeople). Most of this filtration occurs within 100 meters of the tree. This is why urban reforestation is super important to balance the negative environmental impact of cities.
3. They Provide Oxygen
They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and pull water from the soil to then release oxygen into the air. One big tree can provide oxygen for four people and a hectare of mature trees (2.5 acres) can provide 45 people with oxygen.
4. They Provide Food
They provide food not only for humans, but also for animals and insects.
5. They Cool Temperatures
Their shade cools temperatures by several degrees. When strategically placed around a house, the need for using air conditioning can be cut by 50%. This means that trees not only cool temperatures, but they also can help save energy.
6. They Filter Water
Trees store and filter water. They absorb sediments and pollutants from rainfall and runoffs. It is then released in waterways. “Studies show up to 88% nitrate and 76% of phosphorus is reduced after agricultural runoff passes through a forested streamside buffer.” (ten million trees)
7. They Prevent Soil Erosion
Root systems help prevent soil erosion especially on hills or slopes.
8. They Help With Flooding
A canopy is the first line of defense against rainfall and can help reduce flooding. A fully grown evergreen can block up to 4,000 gallons of rain water in a year. In a city, a single tree can obstruct 500 to 750 gallons of rain water a year.
9. They Sustain Wildlife
They help animals and insects live and thrive by providing shelter, food and reproduction sites. From their canopies down to their roots, they provide habitats for many different species.
10. They Heal Us And Reduce Stress
Studies show that spending time in nature and “in a forest can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and anger; strengthen the immune system; improve cardiovascular and metabolic health; and boost overall well- being” (Berkley University, Greater Good Magazine). Trees have also been linked to helping reduce mental fatigue and increase concentration. Studies also show that patients exposed to nature tend to heal faster and children diagnosed with ADHD show fewer symptoms.
11. They Make Spaces More Beautiful
Tree’s help beautify spaces by making them more organic and inviting. In cities, they help muffle sounds, reduce glare and absorb dust.
12. They Increase Property Value
When trees are on a property, its value can increase by 10% to 23%.
13. They Provide Work Opportunities
Bringing nature into urban areas is a great way to provide economic opportunities for local communities. Harvesting, landscaping and maintenance jobs can be created by adding trees into urban planning.
> Read about the amazing affects of nature on the brain, here.
> Click here for the 7 easy ways you can connect with nature.
> Find out more about the European Commission 2030 reforestation plan by clicking here.
> Find out the captivating history of the olive groves in Puglia, Southern Italy by clicking here.
Sources: Tree People article, The Nature Conservancy, US Environmental Protection Agency, Keystone 10 Million, Berkley University of California Greater Good Magazine Article