By Archibong Archibong
Tree planting like other major agricultural practices is as old as man itself. It became a conscious practice after the early men observed that seeds from the fruits of a particular tree they consumed and disposed carelessly germinated over time and produced its kind. Many people decide to enrich their gardens by planting trees. Most of them do it for the beauty or to provide extra shade in summer months. However, there are many other benefits from trees than you might think. Except for relaxing, connecting us with nature and their calming effect, trees do a lot when it comes to the environment.
The points stated below are some of the benefits associated with tree planting in our environment;
- Reducing Climate Change
Trees play an important an important role in climate change. The destruction and degradation of trees contributes to the problem through the release of CO2. But the planting of new trees can help mitigate against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. For instance, people unintentionally accumulate excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through some of our daily activities. Harmful CO2 contributes to climate change, the biggest current problem the world has to deal with. Trees, however, help fight it. They absorb CO2 removing it from the air and storing it while releasing oxygen. Combined with the sun’s energy, the captured carbon is converted into trunks, branches, roots and leaves via the process of photosynthesis. It is stored in this “biomass” until being returned back into the atmosphere, whether through natural processes or human interference, thus completing the carbon cycle. It could then be concluded that trees are our main survival tools; only one tree can produce enough oxygen for four people. In addition to the carbon dioxide trees capture, they also help the soil capture and store carbon. Despite not doing such an incredible job as oceans do – absorbing around 90% of all carbon emissions and then suffering the impacts of ocean acidification – trees are extremely important to help stop climate change.
2. Habitat for Wildlife
Trees also contribute to biodiversity conservation as they become a food source and natural habitat for wildlife. If trees are completely eradicated from the wild, the animal will lost their source of food and habitation, hence making it difficult for them to thrive. One apple tree produces about 20 fruit bushels per year which can nourish many birds, and wildlife. An apple tree can also provide shelter for insects. It can be planted on a very small surface but has a fantastic environmental effect. Trees such as sycamore and oak serves as homes for bees, squirrels and birds.
- Purifying air and cooling the environment
They absorb pollutant gases such as nitrogen oxides, ozone, ammonia, sulfur dioxide. Trees also absorb odors and act as a filter as little particulates get trapped in leaves. A mature acre of trees can yearly provide oxygen for 18 people.
Additionally, in the cities, trees can help to cool down the streets. Every year we listen to the shocking global warming news. For instance, the average temperature in Los Angeles has risen by 6F in 50 years, and the average global temperature grew by 1.4 F. This happens as tree coverage declines. Removing trees and replacing them with heat absorbing asphalt roads and sophisticated buildings makes cities much warmer. Trees are cooling cities by up to 10 F by providing shade and releasing water.
- Soil Remediation
Trees play a major role in soil bioremediation and its presence is of great essence to the agriculturist. They act positively in several ways: they reduce soil erosion, increase fertility and help soil obtain moisture. Fallen tree leaves lower reduce soil temperature and prevent soil from excessive moisture loss. Decaying leaves that fall onto the ground turn into nutrients for tree growth and promote the activities of soil microorganism.
- Saving Water
Except for cooling, trees also help to save water. Because of the shade they provide, water will evaporate slowly from low vegetation. Trees need about 15 water gallons a week to survive, and they release about 200-450 gallons of water per day.
- Preventing Water Pollution
Storm water can be full of phosphorus pollutants and nitrogen. Without trees, storm water flows into oceans and waters without being filtered. Trees break the rainfall and allow water to enter the earth and seep into the soil. Therefore, they prevent storm water from polluting oceans. Except for trees, green infrastructure like green roof can help sooth effects of storm water.
- Renewable Energy Source
Recently, one of the biggest world problems is fossil fuels. Except for their toxic properties, they will also not be around forever. So many companies are focusing on renewable sources of energy. If harvested and treated sustainably, trees can become a great renewable source of energy. They are simple to use, have been around since the beginning of time, and with smart forest management they can become an excellent eco-friendly fuel.
- Erosion Control
Rain and wind are two primary erosion forces that damage the bare soil. As they fall from heights, drops of rain gain power and momentum which is strong enough to penetrate soil once they hit the ground. On the other hand, if the land is dried out, then wind can do significant damage. Trees break droplets of rain and weaken their strength while roots hold the soil together and protect it from effects of wind.
As trees grow, they help absorb and sink the carbon that would otherwise contribute to global heating. Trees (together with all plants) use sunlight energy to do photosynthesis – a process that uses carbon dioxide and water to create energy (glucose) for their cells
There are many environmental benefits of planting a tree. Strategically planting trees around your home can have tremendous benefits on the environment. Not only will you help restore life quality in your community, contribute to the sustainability of our environment and help fight climate change most importantly.