Trees constitute an important part of our ecosystem due to their economic, industrial, and environmental benefits. They are also crucial to humankind because of the mental, spiritual, aesthetic, and other direct and indirect gains they provide for our survival and prosperity. They are nature’s precious gifts and affect the ecosystem by their density and diversity.
Today, the need for plantation has increased due to the constant surge in global warming, wildfires, droughts, floods, and other instances of extreme weather. If you want to combat such environmental concerns and become part of the solution, here are four reasons why you should support plantation and make your surrounding greener, healthier, and safer.
A source of food and fuel:
Trees have been a major source of sustenance throughout our existence. They have always satisfied our needs for food, including fruits, vegetables, sugar, nuts, essential oils, and other necessities of life. Trees are also a source of chemicals and medicine like aspirin and quinine.
Wood served as the first fuel used by humans for cooking and heating. It is still used by about half of the world’s population for the same reason. Trees also provide us commercially useful wood, also called timber and lumber. The timber obtained from trees is used for purposes like home construction, shipbuilding, furniture, sports goods, pencils, matches and matchboxes, and thousands of other household equipment.
The environmental value:
Plants are effective for the purification of the environment as they take in carbon dioxide and serve as oxygen banks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, trees can absorb between 35-800 pounds of CO2 each year. Some of the ecological and environmental benefits of plantation are:
- Plants act as biological filters and reduce environmental pollution. Some plants can absorb gaseous pollutants from the environment and reduce carbon oxides in the air. They improve air quality by maintaining the oxygen cycle necessary for the survival of life.
- Plants can mitigate both surface and air temperatures and reduce energy costs. This is achieved through a process called transpiration, in which water evaporates from the leaves of a plant and cause a cooling effect. Research shows that a well-watered tree can transpire around 380 liters of water in a single day, thus producing a cooling effect equivalent to 5 room ACs running 20 hours/day.
- Plants and trees harbor and feed the majority of wildlife and creatures like birds, insects, reptiles, and small mammals. Plantation plays a significant role in sustaining the natural biodiversity of the planet.
- Planned plantation in urban and rural areas can act as wind barriers and reduce noise levels. Even trees properly grown around a house can provide relief from the noise and reduce stress and mental health problems.
- Trees are necessary for the ecosystem below the ground as the roots hold soil in its place and control erosion. They also absorb rainwater and hence maintain the groundwater supply. Fallen leaves act as compost and enrich the soil.
The economic value:
The economic significance of plantation is often undervalued even though they provide important services in our surroundings. A large tree in a school provides shade equivalent to that of four shade sails. The value is equal to around $2,000 per year, not to mention the aesthetic value of the tree.
Research by the U.S. Forest Service shows that the ecological and commercial benefits offered by trees such as cleaner air, energy savings, and higher property values are, on average, 3 times greater than the planting and care cost over their lifetime. Further findings of the study properly highlight the economic significance of trees:
- One hundred trees remove 53 tons of CO2 per year.
- One mature tree catches about 139 gallons of rainwater annually.
- Properly planted trees reduce the annual air-conditioning costs by 56 percent.
- A large front yard tree can add to a property sales value.
These figures demonstrate that plants and trees can be valuable assets whose value far exceeds the investment costs.
Millions of adults experience depression each year, and more than half of us are afflicted by stress. Mounting evidence shows that exposure to nature and trees can be a simple solution to the common anxiety disorders and mental health problems. Research by Forestry News suggests that a one percent increase in green space can result in a 4 percent lower rate of anxiety disorder.
A new study by Big Think reveals that tree-lined streets can boost the overall health of a community. Areas with 30 percent or more green space have 31 percent lower odds of psychological distress compared to areas with 10 percent or lower tree coverage.
Considering this, we need more collaboration between urban planners, educators, and natural resource communities. We need to take inspiration from initiatives like Manual Diaz Farm Inc and the like to play a role in illuminating the crucial role of plants and trees in the well-being of our bodies and minds.
We are dependent on nature and green spaces for our very survival. As the densities of our community and the pressures of modern life continue to grow, it is increasingly becoming important for us to support plantation in our communities. So get going and make the most of the opportunities that tag along!