Ecological & Environmental Value
Trees and forests are constantly cleaning our air and improving the air quality. Trees absorb CO2 and other air pollutants by removing it from the air, storing it, then releasing oxygen back into the air. In one year, a mature tree can remove as much carbon dioxide as an automobile that drives 26,000 miles generates!
Trees Clean the Air & Provide Oxygen
As mentioned above, trees clean the air and convert it into oxygen which is a byproduct of producing the carbohydrates they require to grow. Proper oxygen levels are necessary for both humans and all other animals to live.
People living in heavily polluted cities are already going to extremes and buying oxygen tanks to help
them breathe. In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people. Which is why a possible solution of simply planting enough new trees in and near these cities will help provide the extra needed oxygen and reduce local air pollution.
Rain forests have often been called the lungs of the earth because they produce so much of the worlds oxygen. Trees planted anywhere in the world are beneficial to everyone due to the global air currents which allow the oxygen produced to circulate around the world!
Trees remove odors, pollutant gases like nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone. Trees filter the particulates out of the air by trapping it on their bark and leaves. The chemicals within the trees go through a series of biochemical reactions which can convert them into non-harmful compounds.
Trees Cool the Streets and the City
On the streets and in the cities, the sun can cause buildings and pavements to hold heat and raise the temperatures. A decline in tree coverage over the years will cause the heat-absorbing roads to absorb more sunlight and in turn increase the temperature.
Trees remove humid haze which is a combination of air pollution and water particles suspended in the air.
Humid haze has many negative impacts including:
- Traps in heat
- Reduces visibility
- Causes respiratory distress
Due to the small size of air pollution particles they remain dispersed rather than collecting into droplets to form clouds and rain. Large forests can dramatically reduce these hazes by giving off water vapor along with bacteria that trigger the humid hazes to form into clouds. The pollution and water then rains down into the forests where the trees and soil microorganisms break most of the pollutants down.
Trees Conserve Energy and Save Water
Trees placed strategically around your home can conserve energy needed for summer air conditioning by 30%. By reducing the energy demand for cooling in the summer, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
Trees planted around homes will block winter winds and help reduce heating costs!
Trees Help Prevent Water Pollution
Trees reduce runoff by breaking rainfall which allows the water to flow down the trunk and is absorbed into the ground below the tree instead of carrying pollutants to the ocean. When the tree is mulched properly the trees act as a sponge and filters the water naturally and recharges groundwater supplies. Trees on hillsides or stream slopes slow runoff and hold the soil in place.
Trees Help Prevent Soil Erosion and Dust Storms
There are places around the world where all the original plant life has been cleared and the exposed soil has turned to dust. Without trees and vegetation to slow down the winds, hold the soil in place, and keep the soil moist, winds pick up dust and carry it hundreds of miles.
Dust storms have become big problems in areas without plant or tree cover. These dust storms cover everything in fine dust which cause mechanical failures, lung problems, loss of visibility and a number of other problems including the spread of disease.
Replanting trees in these areas of very few trees and vegetation can help make the soil healthy and moist again. This helps prevent dust storms as well as rebuilding healthy ecosystems.
Trees Provide Food and Habitat for Wildlife
Wherever trees are planted, wildlife and other plants are sure to follow. Trees provide food and shelter for a variety of birds, small animals and other plants. Flowers, fruits, leaves, buds, and woody parts of trees are used by many different species of animals. Each tree species has its own benefits. For example, Sycamore and Oak trees are among the many urban species that provide excellent urban homes for birds, bees, possums and squirrels.
Interested in learning more about the importance and value of trees?
Check out our following post, "Importance and Value of Trees Part 2"
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