Trees are a natural detox for the environment and the human mind. They clean the air we breath, cool down temperatures, calm our minds and provide a natural habitat to 80% of the worlds terrestrial bio diversity. Forests provide 1.6 billion people jobs and serve as key ingredients for 25% of medicines.
Trees and forests have occupied the earth for thousands of years, however in the past 50 years due to increase in human population and industrialization deforestation has become a major environmental issue. Deforestation and its impact have actually made us realize the value that planting trees and protecting the natural habitats. Some of the key benefits of playing our role and planting trees as individuals, communities and organizations are as follows:
1. Natural air filters
Plants and trees don't eat like animals, they produce their energy from a chemical process called "photosynthesis". During photosynthesis, trees consume carbon dioxide along with other harmful gases like nitrogen and carbon monoxide as raw materials to produce their energy along with oxygen as a by-product. In fact, the amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people annually. In other words, trees are not only the primary source of the breathable air on planet earth they are also act as carbon sinks that absorb the harmful heat and gases generated via deforestation and fossil fuel combustion process.
2. Prevent natural disasters
Trees serve the environment both above and below the ground. The underground root system of trees is typically fairly shallow (frequently no deeper than 2 m), but it spreads quite widely, with the majority of roots found in the upper 60cm of soil. Tree roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, serve as a store for carbohydrates and form a structural system not just for the tree but also the soil that holds it. This intricate root systems act like filters, removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the soil. This process prevents harmful waterslide erosion and reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Association, a mature evergreen tree can intercept more than 15,000 liters of water every year.
Above the ground, trees have play a huge role against global warming, as they help reduce the temperature in the climate. In fact, it has been reported that in big cities, trees can reduce ambient temperatures by up to 8° Celsius. With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities — a number expected to increase to 66% by the year 2050 — pollution and overheating are becoming a real threat. Fortunately, a mature tree can absorb an average of 48 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year, making cities a healthier, safer place to live.
3. Provide a natural habitat
A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitat. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home.
One mature oak can be home to as many as 500 different species. Richmond Park is full of such trees, which is one of the reasons it has been designated a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
4. Improve mental health
Trees help reduce stress and anxiety. Keeping this in mind a lot of modern hospitals, offices even educational institutes try to add trees to the surrounding. Research shows that patients in hospitals with rooms overlooking trees recover faster than those without the same view. Spending some quiet time either alone or with loved ones connecting with nature helps sooth and unwind the mind. They don't just provide a visual pleasure but also protect our body from harmful ultra-violet rays emitted by the sun.
5. Keep the economy moving
Trees have supported and sustained life throughout our existence. They have a wide variety of practical and commercial uses. Wood was the very first fuel, and is still used for cooking and heating by about half of the world’s population.
Trees provide timber for building construction, furniture manufacture, tools, sporting equipment, food, medicines and thousands of household items. Wood pulp is used to make paper.
There are endless job opportunities and commercial benefits tied with trees and forests that can benefit mankind both financially and socially.
There is a Native American proverb
We don't inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children
If we want to create a sustainable future for our coming generations, we must adapt eco friendly practices to conserve the current resources and protect the natural habitat of this planet. Recycling, reusing and reducing are all means of protecting the planet, where as planting a tree is an effort to grow the natural resources. So do yourself a favor and plant a tree!