Thursday, October 27, 2011

Amazing Trees of Life

Good news for trees and everyone else.  A lot of recent scientific research has indicated that forests, and of course the trees that compose them, will absorb a lot more of the atmospheres carbon dioxide than initially thought.  Ten or more years ago it was thought that trees could absorb a lot of the carbon dioxide put off by burning fossil fuels and thus off set global warming.  A few years later some research indicated that trees and forests would not absorb much at all.  Now however, after many years of research we have many well documented studies that show trees will in-fact absorb quite a bit of the carbon dioxide.  Several studies now show they will likely absorb about one-third of it, which is quite a lot.  What makes this research different from prior research?  These studies are based on a decade or more of research, are very large scale, and have been supported by other studies, making them far stronger then previous conclusions. Not only that, some of this research indicates trees will be able to adapt to and even clean increased air pollution.  Of course this does not mean we shouldn't try to decrease burning of fossil fuels or pollution. These are still problems and we still need to work on decreasing these things. Even so, this is great news!  And not just in regards to slowing climate change and pollution, but also to ecosystem restoration and pollution control, among numerous other things.  

Check out these articles:

Future Forests May Soak Up More Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Believed

World's Forests' Role in Carbon Storage Immense, Research Reveals

What’s good for trees and the atmosphere is good for people.  It’s not by mistake that the Bible’s beginning and end involves the Tree of Life.  Trees are in-fact integral, life-giving parts of the biosphere.  The diverse variety of environmental and anthropological benefits they preform and produce is truly astounding.  While they are living and growing trees clean water and air, absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, hold soil together preventing erosion and building the soil, help drive the water cycle, provide shade, cooler temperatures and regulate climate, provide food for man and animal, provide homes for a huge diversity of organisms, aid groundwater recharge and retain soil water, slow winds, and of course provide an amazing amount of beauty.  Take the time to patiently and closely examine the delicate details of leaves, the organization and strength of the trunk and branches, and the overall touch, smell, and sound of the tree.  A prolonged observation of a mature tree will clearly reveal its overall beauty.  
Fall White Oak leaves.
Even in death trees provide life.  Of course when we cut down a tree it provides fuel and building materials.  But even a dead tree in the forest supports life in the forest.  Dead trees replenish the soil and provide insects, fungi, birds, and animals all homes and places to hide or perch.  Amazingly, sometimes dead trees even support more life in their death than they do in their life.

In light of all this, while I don’t suggest leaving dead trees in your home landscape, I do suggest we all plant trees.  You can leave the dead trees in your yard if you want through!  Planting trees is an excellent activity for anyone of any age.  Obviously it will be hugely beneficial to the landscape, environment, and you personally.  Homeowners who plant trees increase the value of their home, provide beauty for their yard, and can shade and cool their home lowering energy costs among other things.  Also, taking the time to learn how to plant a tree, prune it, care for it, watch it grow, and enjoy it are some of the simple educational pleasures of life that anyone can do.  

The reality is, while we do know a decent amount about trees there are still vast amounts of knowledge we still do not know.  Simply choosing one species of tree, say a Sugar Maple, you could spend your life learning new things about it that no one ever knew.  Reading what is already known about the tree, observing how it grows, its habits, where it grows, and conducting simple experiments with it (such as how to germinate the seeds best) could make anyone willing to make the effort, an expert on that particular tree.  Great education, beauty, and environmental benifits truly can be only as far as your own backyard.

No comments:

Post a Comment