Reasons Why Trees are Awesome!
Trees are a familiar presence in our daily lives. We appreciate them for their aesthetic appeal, and providing shade and food, but did you know there’s a lot more to trees than colorful leaves and apples?
In honor of Arbor Day, we’re celebrating this unique marvel of nature, and all of the many ways trees make our lives and our planet better.
- There are more than 60,000 known species of trees on Earth. And since trees can live for thousands of years!
- Some of the oldest known trees in the world include: Methuselah (Great Basin bristlecone pine, 4,852 years old, U.S.); Gran Abuelo (Patagonian cypress, 3,650 years old, Chile); Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi (sacred fig, 2,307 years old, Sri Lanka); the Roman Colosseum (1,950 years old, Italy)
- Part of what helps trees survive is the “wood-wide web” – an underground network of tree roots and microscopic fungal filaments that allow trees to share water and nutrients, and warn each other about dangers like diseases and insect attacks.
- Tree roots also help hold our planet together – literally. A tree’s root system will stop soil from eroding during rainstorms and high winds, and in hilly areas, they can prevent dangerous landslides.
- Trees also provide habitats for hundreds of species of animals. While you’re probably familiar with North American tree dwellers like birds and squirrels, there’s a whole host of unique creatures that make their homes in trees, including kinkajous in Central and South America, tarsiers in Southeast Asia, and genets in Europe and North Africa.
- Trees are also extremely important in helping our planet stay healthy and functional. Not only do they produce oxygen, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, keeping Earth cool, and filter toxins like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide out of the air we breathe
- Trees are a vital part of the Earth’s water cycle. They help prevent flooding by absorbing water when bodies of water overflow their banks or drainage systems fail.
- The water absorbed by trees is released back into the atmosphere in a process called transpiration. This helps prevent droughts, and also cools the air temperature, which is especially important in urban areas, which tend to be hotter.
- Trees help hold our planet together – literally. Their roots stop soil from eroding during rainstorms and high winds. In hilly areas, they can prevent dangerous landslides.
- In noisy areas, like cities, trees act as a natural buffer, absorbing noise pollution and masking sounds of city life with their gentle, rustling leaves and branches.
- Humans also benefit greatly from the presence of trees. Studies have shown that spending time around trees can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood.
- When humans are ill or in pain, trees can help. There is evidence that patients recuperating from surgery heal faster and have fewer complications when they have access to trees and nature during their recovery.
- Trees also help people heal by providing raw materials for medicine and other remedies. Some common treatments that are derived from tree bark or leaves including quinine, camphor, taxol, cocoa butter, and birch oil.
- You’re probably well aware of a lot of foods that are produced by trees, including apples, pears, lemons, and limes. But did you know these foods grow on trees as well?
- Putting some green in your yard could also put green in your pocket. Having well-maintained trees on your property can increase property values by 7 to 19%. Mature trees can also help lower your heating and cooling costs by an estimated 25% by providing shade and lowering the air temperature in the summer, and buffering your home from cold temperatures in the winter.
- If you really love trees, you can even make your living working with them. Some common jobs that involve trees include logger, arborist, landscape designer, ecologist, tree surgeon, forest and conservation worker, and park ranger.
- So next time you pause for some shade, or enjoy the sound of leaves rustling outside your window, take a moment to thank trees for all the cool ways they help us and our planet!