A tree, in Botany, is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most
species. We all know that trees provide oxygen, fruits, shade and timber but, unlike other living organisms, they
are not capable of locomotion or movement.
However, there is more to these trees than we think we now. Trees are extremely important for us and our habitat.
Following are the some of the most important benefits of trees:
- Trees absorb carbon-dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere which is essential for breathing for all animal life on Earth. In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
- Trees combat climate change. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced when one drives a car for 26,000 miles.
- Trees clean the air we breathe by absorbing odours and pollutant gases such as Nitrogen Oxides, Ammonia, Sulphur Dioxide and Carbon Dioxide. They also filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
- Trees cool the streets and cities by providing shade, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water.
- Trees conserve energy. Only three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air-conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.
- Trees save water by providing shade which slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
- Trees help prevent water pollution. They reduce runoff by breaking rainfall, thus allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth below the trees. This prevents storm-water from carrying pollutants to the ocean. When mulched, trees act like a sponge that filters this water naturally and uses it to recharge groundwater supplies.
- Trees help prevent soil erosion on hillsides or stream slopes by slowing run-off and holding soil in place.
- Trees shield humans and all other forms of animal life from ultra-violet rays by reducing UV-B exposure by about 50 percent.
- Trees provide food. An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife.
- Trees have a healing effect. Studies have shown that patients with views of trees outside their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.
- Trees mark the seasons. The change in colour and density of leaves serves as a natural marker for the seasons and associated change in weather.
- Trees create economic opportunities. Fruit harvested from community orchards can be sold, thus providing income. Small business opportunities in green waste management and landscaping arise when cities value mulching and its water-saving qualities. Vocational training for youth interested in green jobs is also a great way to earn revenue.
- Trees are teachers as well as play mates. Whether as houses for children or creative and spiritual inspiration for adults, trees have provided the space for human retreat throughout the ages.
- Trees foster unity and bring diverse groups of people together. Trees as landmarks can give a neighborhood a new identity and encourage civic pride. Plantation and afforestation drives provide an opportunity for community involvement and empowerment that improves the quality of life in neighborhoods.
- Trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife. Sycamore and oak are among the many urban species that provide excellent urban homes for birds, bees, possums and squirrels.
- Trees beautify the environment and surroundings. They help in cloaking concrete walls, parking lots and unsightly views. They also aid in reducing noise pollution by muffling sound from nearby streets and freeways.
- Trees provide wood for fuel, furniture and craft-wood.
- Trees increase property value. The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding streets and neighborhood can raise estimated values by as much as 15 percent.
- Trees are also used as camouflage by the armed forces.