Seven top life-sustaining benefits of trees
According to the World Resources Institute, nearly 80% of the world’s old growth forest has been cleared. Forests now cover only 6% of the planet, but they
Scientists are encouraging the world to refocus on the critical role trees play in mitigating climate change. Sharing some of the latest science, Suzi Martineau, Education & Partnerships Coordinator for TreeSisters, outlines seven ways trees benefit our human and planetary wellbeing.
1. Forests support the water cycle we need for our future harvests: The healthy function of weather patterns in the upper atmosphere relies on trees. We need lots of forest cover to maintain the global rainfall cycles that support growing crops. Put simply, forests ensure food for our children.
2. Trees medicate and heal the atmosphere: Trees don’t just breathe out oxygen. Tropical trees also release helpful aerosols that reduce the global warming effect of cow farts! They also contribute towards cloud seeding and building of the ozone layer that protects the Earth from the intensity of the sun’s rays.
3. Trees breathe out aerosols that support human health: The research of forest medicine expert, Dr Qing Li, an environmental immunologist, demonstrates that each minute we spend near trees lowers our levels of adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone. Trees release airborne substances that protect them from insect and microbe attack. We breathe them in and they help us too.
4. Forests draw down carbon: Tree planting is vital to drawing down carbon emissions into the land. The latest International Panel on Climate Change report states that with adequate investment, trees could be drawing down over 30% of our annual carbon emissions. US ecologist Dr Thomas Crowther has since reported that with sufficient increase in forest cover worldwide, enough carbon could be sucked from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions.
5. Forests feed and protect ocean life: When forest mulch drains through our waterways into the ocean, it feeds plankton and sea kelp forests with fulvic acid, a form of iron that ocean life depends on. The plankton and sea kelp then support other ocean life such as fish. Hence in Japan there is a saying, “If you want to find a fish, climb a tree”. This remarkable relationship gives us a guide to where to re-plant trees so that we can replace the 40% forest cover loss around global rivers.
6. Trees medicate our waterways: Aspirin comes from willow trees. The salicylic acid in willow bark is water soluble. Therefore, the willows along our waterways leach anti-inflammatories into the water, benefitting aquatic life.
This is one example of the many ways in which trees help our waterways to support life.
7. Forests provide a road map for human future wellbeing: Trees need healthy soil, clean air and good water. So do we. By attending to the needs of forests, we also take care of our own health.
Suzi Martineau concludes: “If predicted climate change happens, it will have dramatic and long lasting effects for the trees and forests we need to survive and thrive. It’s for all the above reasons and a myriad more that TreeSisters and their global network of collaborative partners are focused on reforestation, funding community planting projects across the tropics and the globe.”
The TreeSisters upcoming Earth Day campaign – Calling All Women – is a clarion call to restore and reforest the planet and reap the benefits of trees to slow climate change and then start to reverse it. Restoration is about love, reverence for Nature and care for our children and future generations. The charity and women-led global reforestation movement, TreeSisters, is aiming to grow its caring, active network by another 8,000 women worldwide and inspire 10,000 actions towards the restoration of our world. Join Calling All Women from Friday 19th April to Friday 17th May and be part of this global action for restoration by joining TreeSisters on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/treesisters.
Notes to Editors:
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