Trees are vital. As the largest plants on the planet, they provide us with oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also give us the materials for tools and shelter. Not only are trees essential for life, but also for living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future. If you want to know the seasons Is it winter, spring, summer or fall? Look at the trees. It is necessary that woodlands, rainforests and trees, are preserved and sustainably managed across the world.
Recent evidence showed that trees benefit health where they act as a physical filter, absorbing odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and trapping dust from the air on their leaves and bark.
Each individual tree removes up to 1.7 kilos of pollutant every year. Trees also provide shade from solar radiation and reduce noise. Several trees are known to have medicinal properties. The oil from birch bark, for example, has antiseptic properties. Researchers reported that within minutes of being surrounded by green space and trees, your blood pressure drops, your heart rate slows, and your stress levels come down. Several studies showed that patients who live beside trees heal faster and with less complications. Children automatically calm down when they have access to trees and nature. Exposure to trees aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.
Trees also benefit the environment and combat carbon emissions through absorbing carbon dioxide as they grow and storing it in their wood. Furthermore, they can reduce wind speeds and cool the air as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves. It is estimated that trees can reduce the temperature in a city by up to 7°C. Trees also help prevent soil erosion and flooding, absorbing thousands of liters of stormwater. Trees support wildlife where they host complex microhabitats. trees offer habitation and nourishment to a wide varieties’ communities of birds, insects, lichen, and fungi. Their trunks also provide the hollow cover needed by species such as bats, tawny owls, woodpeckers and wood boring beetles. One mature tree can be home to as many as 500 different species.
Trees strengthen communities and encourage local pride. Urban woodland can be utilized as an educational modality and to bring groups together for activities like bird watching and walking. Tree plantings provide an opportunity for community empowerment and involvement that improves the quality of life in our neighborhoods. All cultures, ages, and genders have a principal role to participate in a trees care event.Trees are also noble for children to play in and discover their sense of adventure. Trees also grow the economy where people are attracted to work, live, and invest in green surroundings. Research showed that average house prices are 10-18% higher when properties are close to trees. Companies benefit from a healthier workforce if there are trees and parks nearby.
Forests cover 32% of the world's terrestrial ecosystems and provide many ecosystem services, including timber production, hydrological regulation, soil conservation, carbon emission mitigation, and air quality regulation. Green infrastructure such as urban parks and street trees also improve air quality and mitigate heat island effects.
Air pollution is a significant problem worldwide that affects human health and well-being, ecosystem health, climate, visibility, crops, and man-made materials. The major air pollutants are: monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), lead(Pb), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter (PM), which includes particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10) and particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in aerodynamic diameter. There are several health effects related to air pollution such as impacts on pulmonary, cardiac, vascular, and neurological systems. Trees and forests alter air quality through the direct removal of air pollutants, affecting local microclimates and building energy use, and through the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to O3 and PM2.5 formation.
Recent evidence indicated that trees, particularly low VOC emitting species, can be a viable strategy to help reduce urban O3 levels. Trees remove gaseous air pollution primarily by uptake via leaf stomata, though some gases are removed by the plant surface. For O3, SO2 and NO2, most of the pollution is removed via leaf stomata.
Once inside the leaf, gases diffuse into intercellular spaces and may be absorbed by water films to form acids or react with inner-leaf surfaces. Trees directly affect particulate matter in the atmosphere by intercepting particles, emitting particles (e.g., pollen) and resuspension of particles captured on the plant surface. Some particles can be absorbed into the tree, though most intercepted particles are retained on the plant surface.
The intercepted particles often are resuspended to the atmosphere, washed off by rain, or dropped to the ground with leaf and twig fall. During dry periods, particles are constantly intercepted and resuspended, in part, dependent upon wind speed. Pollution removal by urban trees in the United States has been estimated at 711,000 tonnes (t) per year.
The availability and quality of clean water in many regions of the world is increasingly threatened by overuse, misuse, and pollution. Water security is dependent on forests. Approximately 75 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater for agricultural, domestic, industrial, and environmental uses comes from forests, with 90 percent of the world's cities relying on forested watersheds for their water supply. Forests and trees are essential to maintaining resilient production systems, communities, and ecosystems. They are vital to our water supply, providing high quality water resources: they intercept atmospheric moisture, contribute to cloud and rain formation, reduce erosion and recharge groundwater.
However, changes in climate and land-use are contributing to altered groundwater and base flows locally, and precipitation regionally. Global hydro sheds - major watersheds - have experienced 40 percent tree cover loss, resulting in increased risk to water stress, erosion, and forest fires. With approximately 80% of the world population facing water insecurity, the management of forests for water is increasingly important.
Using forests to produce high quality water can cost as low as $2 per person per year. Yet, 75 percent of the world's forests are not managed for water conservation.
The relationship between forest and water resources needs to be addressed through integrated management and policies, supported by scientific understanding. A key challenge is to maximize this wide range of multi-sectoral forest benefits without detriment to water resources and ecosystem function. To address this challenge, there is an urgent need for a better understanding of the interface between forests/trees and water. It is also necessary to develop institutional mechanisms to enhance synergies in dealing with forests and water issues and to implement and enforce action programmes at the national and regional levels.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations are rapidly increasing, having risen by about 100 ppm over the last century. Atmospheric CO2 is the basic photosynthetic building block of plants and is respired to generate the plant’s energy. Atmospheric CO2 in enhanced conditions is like an “all-you-can-eat buffet” for trees.
Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are both very important atmospheric contaminants. Human activities are responsible for the introduction of increasing quantities of these gases to the atmosphere. Carbon monoxide is particularly important because of its potent mammalian toxicity, while carbon dioxide is most significant because of its ability to regulate global temperature. Neither gas is thought to cause direct damage to vegetation at ambient concentrations presently monitored.
Forests constitute from approximately 60% to 90% of the total terrestrial carbon pool. The natural net input of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from vegetative systems is close to zero (equilibrium) when the systems exist in natural, undisturbed states. Under conditions of widespread and rapid forest destruction, however, equilibrium conditions, or near equilibrium conditions may be lost. Several researches address the potential of afforestation, reforestation, agroforestry and forest management for increasing carbon sequestration. However, it should be noted that the C sink strength of forests is highly variable depending on forest types, forest age, moisture availability, local climate, and soil carrying capacity. The C sequestration potential of various afforestation/reforestation activities also depends on the site and forest management practices and forest type. Clearly, better-managed and fully stocked forests and forests established with genetically superior selections offer considerable opportunities for increasing the C sink strength of the world’s forests.
Tree planting remains a viable option for carbon sequestration. As a tree matures, it can consume 48 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year (among other greenhouse gases like ozone) and releases enough oxygen for you to breathe for two years. Also, urban trees help ameliorate the microclimate, provide wildlife habitat, increase property values, impact human moods, absorb air pollutants, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, and decrease noise pollution.
Forests may generate social values, or be connected with people’s lives, in ways that contribute to, or deduct from, social well-being. The term ‘social values’ has been used to refer to aesthetic and existence values, emotional attachment; sense of naturalness or wilderness; recreational values, privacy; moral and spiritual values; cultural values; mythic value (sense of primeval or mystery); rural employment opportunities, subsistence or health needs of local residents, and / or environmental improvement.
Even carbon sequestration has been termed a ‘social value’ by some authors. The social functions of forests are often more difficult to measure and can vary considerably among countries, depending on their level of development and traditions. For example, in developed, post-industrial societies, the benefits of forests for recreation and amenity values or the maintenance of a rural way of life may be most important, while in developing countries, the area of forests available for subsistence activities or the number of people employed in the sector may be a better indication of their social value.
Given the difficulties of measuring the social benefits of forests, social functions are often measured in terms of inputs rather than outputs (e.g. the area or proportion of forests used to provide various social functions). Both society, and forestry, have changed radically over the centuries of forest management, and both have affected ways in which social values are recognized. Social values change as society’s organization, beliefs, affluence, level of education and spare time change.
All the international processes on criteria and indicators include a section on the monitoring and assessment of socio-economic functions or benefits of the forestry sector. A wide variety of variables may be measured: production and consumption; recreation and tourism; funding and investment in the forest sector; cultural, social and spiritual needs and values; forestry employment; health and safety; and community needs.
The greatest value of biodiversity might still be unknown. Only a fraction of known species has been examined for potential medicinal, agricultural, or industrial value. Nor do we fully understand how biodiversity contributes to the well-being of the larger global environment. And we are only just beginning to learn how biodiversity helps communities around the world satisfy their economic, dietary, health and cultural needs. Forests are the most diverse ecosystems on land because they hold most of the world's terrestrial species. Timber, pulpwood, firewood, fodder, meat, cash crops, fish and medicinal plants from the forest provide livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. But only a fraction of known species has been examined for potential medicinal, agricultural, or industrial value.
Tropical rain forests are the biologically richest terrestrial biome on the planet, hosting 50–90 percent of all plant species. Tropical deforestation is, therefore, the single largest threat to maintaining the planet’s flora and fauna diversity. Estimates of species loss whether 10 or 150 species/day—are at best educated guesses, but many scientists believe that the rate of extinction at the end of the twentieth century constitutes a mass extinction on the order of those driven by nature in the geological past.
High biological diversity of forests is worth preserving for several reasons; On utilitarian grounds, forest products provide direct benefits to humans. A large proportion of agricultural plants originates in forests, and new plants with potentially high commercial value may yet be discovered. High genetic diversity also enhances plant breeding and productivity.
One of the best ways to conserve forest biodiversity is to establish protected forest areas. But these areas must be of a certain size, or consist of a well-designed network of forest areas, to allow the local forest ecosystems to continue operating effectively. The forest surrounding the protected area must then be carefully managed so that it serves as a buffer zone. These surrounding forests also allow local communities to earn a livelihood without infringing on the protected forest.
Drylands cover about 41 % of the earth’s land surface and are characterized by a scarcity of water. The world’s drylands contain 1.1 billion hectares of forest, corresponding to 27 percent of the world’s forest area. Forest accounts for 18 % of the dryland and other wooded land 10 %, while barren land accounts for 28 %, grassland 25 % and cropland 14 %. The remaining 5 % comprises water bodies, built-up areas and other unidentified land. Drylands are home to 35 % of global biodiversity hotspot areas as well as one-third of all Endemic Bird Areas and Important Bird Areas. Drylands also support half of the world’s livestock, which is a source of food security for the 90 percent of the dryland population living in developing countries.
About 90 % of the estimated 2 billion people living in drylands are in developing countries. The majority of these people depend on forests and other wooded lands, grasslands and trees on farms to meet basic needs for food, shelter, medicines, cooking, wood, heating, and fodder for livestock, and for income.
Forests have a major role to play in reversing desertification trends. Forestry activities in arid zones are oriented toward both production and protection and that they benefit on a large scale from the positive effects of soil and water conservation generated by plant cover, enabling the environment to be kept stable. Trees and forests in drylands generate a wealth of environmental services; for example, they provide habitats for biodiversity, protect against wind and water erosion and desertification, help water infiltrate soils, and contribute to soil fertility. They also help increase the resilience of landscapes and communities in the face of global change. In africa, Tree cultivation in arid zones is not only a forestry practice, but also a land use exercise. the main types of forestry activity aimed at combating desertification are afforestation, natural plant management, silvo-pastoral systems, agroforestry systems, watershed management, and the setting up of national parks.
Air pollution is a global crisis and the major topic for this year’s World Environment Day. High concentrations of harmful gases and particles in our atmosphere negatively affects the health of humans, animals and plants.
But there’s a natural remedy: forests. The world’s forests absorb a third of global emissions every year. Particles, odors and pollutant gases such as nitrogen oxides, ammonia and sulfur dioxide settle on the leaves of a tree. Trees absorb these toxic chemicals through their stomata, or ‘pores’, effectively filtering these chemicals from the air. Trees also mitigate the greenhouse gas effect by trapping heat, reduce ground-level ozone levels and release life-giving oxygen. Trees also reduce the effects of PM – particles made from a mixture of different chemicals and soot that clog up the air, causing heart and lung disease. If we continue with our current rate of deforestation, it will have severe consequences on the quality of our air.
Trees act as the earth’s purification system by absorbing airborne chemicals and releasing oxygen. To tackle global air pollution, we need to halt deforestation and plant billions of trees. Reforestation is the reestablishment of trees and understory plants at a site previously occupied by forest cover. More than 200 million hectares of deforested land provide little or no food production, and are eligible for cost-effective reforestation. That’s an area around three times the size of Texas. Reforesting these lands would sequester 3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year (GtCO2e/year). That’s comparable to the emissions from 642 million passenger vehicles per year. The quality of the air we breathe is also directly connected to the trees closest to us. It’s the balance between these global and local benefits of trees that makes them indispensable for the protection of our planet and our health.
Trees have a vital role in improving the environment and slowing desertification. Trees are considered as living air-purifiers. Clean air is a human right and air pollution does not only damage human health, but also harm the rainforest, wildlife and hamper the economy in many ways. Nine out of ten people worldwide breathe polluted air. This produces millions of illnesses and deaths and needs action to be reduced. Tiny pollutants from cities are being spread hundreds of miles to the Amazon rainforest and when they react with sunlight and volatile organic compounds from vegetation, chemicals are produced that can influence the local climate Therefore, trees act as air-cleaning machines, improving air quality in several ways. As well as absorbing excess carbon dioxide, their leaves trap the toxic pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide , ozone, and harmful microscopic particles produced by wood burning, diesel vehicles, and cooking.
Additionally, Trees act as air conditioners with a local cooling effect. They act as an essential natural filter that absorb dangerous pollutants. So, they have a big role in reducing air pollution. Particulates that are particularly damaging to lungs are held over tree surfaces, while leaves act as filters, absorbing polluting gases. A well-established tree is at its peak of removing carbon dioxide from the air and sequestering surplus carbon as carbohydrates in its woody tissues. Therefore, carbon dioxide removal and carbon banking is affected by a tree’s age, health and species. Soil conditions also are an important factor. Recent evidence indicates that much carbon banking takes place below ground in healthy roots and nearby organic material. Climate also affects the vigor of a tree’s growth and carbon storage processes. In general, trees are most active when it is sunny, warm and moist. Additionally, several studies showed that the shade of large trees can greatly help in reducing heat and act as air conditioning needs of nearby residences. This in turn reduces CO2 emissions from the power sources of that heating and cooling.
Planting a tree is a lifelong investment and we can start doing it tomorrow. Photosynthetic carbon capture by trees is likely to be among the most effective ways to limit the rise of CO2 concentrations across the globe. Planting billions of trees across the world is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere. Reforestation can buy us time to cut our carbon emissions. Planting new trees remains vital to reverse the current trends of rising greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and forest destruction and bring them down to zero.
Additionally, the restoration of trees remains among the most effective strategies for carbon emission mitigation. there is enough suitable land to increase the world’s forest cover by one-third without affecting existing cities or agriculture. However, the amount of suitable land area diminishes as global temperatures rise. The area available for forest restoration could be reduced by a fifth by 2050 because it would be too warm for some tropical forests.
Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as one of the most effective carbon drawdown solutions to date. However, desertification will alter this potential tree coverage. A recent study showed that more than half the potential to restore trees can be found in just six countries: Russia (151 million hectares); USA (103 million); Canada (78 million); Australia (58 million); Brazil (50 million); and China (40 million). Those countries have so much potential because they’ve already removed much of their existing forests.
Planting a tree is a lifelong investment and you can start doing it now. With our unique Tree Subcription you help restoring the forests of the world by planting new trees every month!
The perfect sized plan for an average citizen to offset emissions and plant trees all over the world.