It’s no secret that the age of the Anthropocene, driven by human activity and influence, has piloted an increased number of challenges associated with the wellbeing of our people, planet and its wildlife.
It has become evident that human action is spurring the effects of climate change leading to ocean acidification, depleted numbers of wildlife, ever worsening air pollution and rising sea levels.
This is where trees come into play.
If you payed attention in science lessons at school then I’m sure you’ll know that trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air and store it in their wood which helps to tackle climate change by lowering the count of CO2 in the atmosphere.
But why else are they so great?
Today we thought we’d run through some of the main benefits of having trees around, whether that’s in gardens, cities, forests or degraded lands.
(Hopefully we can show you why we shouldn’t be cutting them down!)
Why are Trees So Awesome?
- There are around 3 trillion trees on planet earth.
- More than 60,000 species.
- Trees can ‘talk’ to each other and share much needed nutrients through an underground network of fungi. In fact, research has shown that these fungi link whole forests together, allowing mature trees to send excess carbon and nutrients to saplings in need.
- Tree roots can reach up to 120-meters-deep into the earth.
- A single mature leafy tree can produce enough oxygen for up to ten people per year!
- Again, just a single tree planted in an open pasture can increase bird biodiversity from zero to as many as 80 species.
- Finally, the oldest tree in the world, the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, is over 5,000 years old. You try living that long!
The Environmental Benefits of Trees
Trees have a wealth of benefits for the environment.
Trees produce the oxygen we need to breathe. So, without these marvelous air filters, we’d quickly run out of our much-needed supply of oxygen.
However, they don’t only provide the oxygen that is vital to our survival. They also filter harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide out of the air we breathe, making them natural air purifiers.
A lesser known environmental fact about trees is that they act as wind breaks, reducing wind speeds and cooling the air as they reflect heat in an upward direction from their leaves. In fact, trees have been found to reduce to the temperature in cities by up to 7°C.
Trees also help to prevent flooding and soil erosion as they absorb huge volumes of storm water.
Last and by no means least, trees act as homes for a huge number of species.
When they are quite young they offer the perfect habitation and food to many birds, insects and fungi. Then, when they are ancient, their bark and trunks offer the perfect cover needed by species such as tawny owls, bats, beetles and woodpeckers.
Did you know that just one mature oak can act as a home to as many as 500 species? That’s a lot of life in just one tree!
The Social Benefits of Trees
There are a whole host of upsides to having our leafy friends around aside from the environmental ones.
Studies have shown that being around trees and green spaces like parks, gardens and woodlands reduces the stress of life. So be sure to make use of this by taking a walk in nature if you’re feeling stressed or down.
Remember play time at school? Well, there’s a reason we were all ushered out into the playground once or twice at a day. This is because it has been found that children retain more of the information they learn at school if they spend time outdoors surrounded by green areas.
Ever been in hospital for a procedure or operation? You may have recovered more quickly if you were in a room with a view of the great, green outdoors. Many scientific studies have found that patients recover more quickly if they had a view of trees from their hospital bed.
Who’d have thought they could have such a profound impact!
Trees can be used as a living, breathing memorial of loved ones or significant events throughout history. Much nicer to have a living memory rather than a cold, stone one if you ask me!
The Community Benefits of Trees
Trees do more than breathe life into the species of our planet. They also drive community in a number of ways.
Trees give a place unique character and drive people to be proud of the area they are from. What better way to drive community than making people proud to be from their hometown.
Woodlands and forests are often used as educational resources. Thereby, promoting a natural way of life in unison with nature. Moreover, places like these bring people together for activities such as bird watching and hiking.
What’s more, streets lined with trees have the effect of calming traffic, thereby protecting children playing in built up areas. Moreover, they can be used to screen views or noise from roads, improving the experience of a place. Even to complement architecture, buildings and neighborhoods, adding even more to the character of a place.
The Economic Benefits of Trees
The economic benefits of trees? Huh?
I thought the same thing when I first came across some of the studies and articles on this.
As it turns out, trees can have a profound impact of house prices, motivation in work and what draws people to specific areas.
People are drawn to green spaces for their living and working lives. Research has shown how average house prices can rise by up to 18% when they are in close proximity to mature trees. Furthermore, companies experience a happier, healthier team when they have parks and trees close by to the office.
Trees can also save you money. How?
Trees which are placed in carefully planned locations can reduce cooling costs in summer by shading homes. Moreover, in the winter they can act as windbreaks and reduce the cooling effects of icy winter winds.
Off the back of this, an indirect impact of trees helping to keep our homes warm is that we use less power to maintain the temperate of our homes and, as a result, you’ll pay less to utility companies.
We Love Trees
Trees are homes, they warm homes, protect lives, save money, clean our air, produce the oxygen we breath, improve memory, happiness and motivation, reduce stress, drive community, increase property values and even aid recovery from illness.
They’re a fantastic tool to counter climate change and could be used the save the world.
But, from what we’ve looked at today, it’s safe to say they already save lives every day.
Join us on our mission to bring our ‘plant with every purchase’ initiative to the world! To learn more about our approach check out this post.