The importance to planting a tree

Thanks to Julie Smith, for this article.

Repairing the Damage of Tree Decline

Trees are a vital part of the world environment.  There has been an unsettling decline in this element of nature; between 2000 and 2005 the world’s most densely forested countries lost approximately 400,000 square miles of tree cover (approximately 3% of the total forest cover).  The figures were published by the United States National Academy of Sciences; and the United States suffered the most tree loss, by percentage, of the countries studied, the others of which were Canada, Russia, China, Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  There are many reasons for the disappearance of trees, some of which are man- made; the clearing of areas for urban development, industry, and subsistence farming; logging; and deliberately started wildfires.  Natural causes such as storms and non-deliberate wildfires cause further problems.  Whatever the causes it has become apparent that there is a need to conduct planting programs to replenish the tree population and ensure its continued existence.

The Problem With a Lack of Trees

So why is a lack of trees a bad thing? On a world wide scale there have been many areas where deforestation has taken place; that is to say where trees have been removed to use the land for a completely different reason.  When you understand that over half of the world’s plant and animal species live in rainforests you begin to see the potential problems.  Losing trees without replanting them can cause immense harm to forest dwellers that lose their natural environment.  The other adverse effects include aridity and decreased biodiversity.  The resultant decrease in bio sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to an increase of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere.

The adverse effects of losing trees are not just felt in jungle areas but in an urban environment too.  According to a 2012 study published in ‘Urban Forestry & Urban Greening’, of twenty cities observed in the United States seventeen exhibited significant loss of tree cover while sixteen had seen a corresponding increase in the coverage of buildings, sidewalks, and roadways.  The reduction of trees in urban areas can reduce air quality and increase temperatures; the increase in temperatures can often result in an increase in power consumption.  From a financial and psychological point of view trees make for a more pleasant living environment, so a lack of them can not only have an adverse effect on residents but also on real estate prices.

The Importance of Planting a Tree

From the effects which can occur from a reduction in tree coverage it can be seen how important it is to replenish that coverage; this makes tree planting programs essential.  In mountainous areas there is an opportunity to combine activities.  Mountain climbing is a popular activity in its own right, combining access to nature with the sense of achievement of making a particular climb.  Climbers, and indeed many non-climbers, are fascinated by the exploits of legends such as Edmund Hilary.  You do not have to be Edmund Hilary to climb a mountain though; although you should always be prepared and take a look at advice available.  For those that want to participate it is the perfect opportunity to participate in tree planting at the same time; thereby preserving the climbing environment.  Of course such planting needs to be coordinated in order to ensure that the trees planted are indigenous to the area, that they are planted sufficiently away from well-worn tracks to allow them to establish, and that concentration is on the tree planting itself, not just the climbing.

Of course it is not just about climbers preserving the environment.  Early in 2013 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continued a tree planting program along the Appalachian Trail in Palmertonm, Pennsylvania.  It is the second year of a scheme to protect the vegetation of the Blue Mountains which has the aim of repairing environmental damage caused by zinc smelting operations in Palmerton.  In 2013 5,500 new trees will join approximately 8,350 planted in 2012 by the EPA in conjunction with the National Park Service, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the American Chestnut Foundation.

The Importance of Protecting Trees

We have a tendency to take trees for granted; we assume they will always be there.  If we do not replenish those trees that are lost, through the intervention of man or nature, that will not be the case.  Losing trees can result in the extinction of species, detrimental atmospheric changes and the deterioration of the environment.  It is essential that we replant to compensate for trees that we lose.


 
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