Why do we need trees?
You might have heard a lot about the importance of sustainable forests and the harm that cutting down too many trees can do, but do you really know why we need trees? Some of the reasons might not be as obvious as you think but trees are absolutely vital for both humans and nature every single day. The UK has a small amount of forest compared to countries with in Europe, with only 12% of our land covered in forests. We must improve on this figure, but why?
Reasons we need trees:
The natural balance of life on earth can only be maintained by the important role that trees play. Trees remove excess carbon dioxide from the environment, converting it to oxygen through a process called photosynthesis. As all animals and humans on land, and even some in the sea, need oxygen to breathe – trees are a hugely important necessity for life. Trees absorb the CO2 and water from the atmosphere, converting this to glucose and oxygen when sunlight in added into the process.
To fight climate change
The effects of global warming are linked heavily to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, contributing to the ‘greenhouse effect’. The CO2 traps heat from the sun, warming the earth. Certain natural cycles have always occurred on our planet, but scientific evidence suggests that rising CO2 levels from human activities are having the biggest influence on warming temperatures. As trees absorb this carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the more trees the better for our planet. Some trees can become a nuisance though but before cutting one down, check with a Tree Surgeon Dorset at https://kieranboylandtreeservices.com/
To purify the air
Trees make ideal air filters with some species more effective at cleaning the air. London Planes for example are very resistant to pollution, trapping pollutants inside the bark and leaves. Urban planners and city leaders choose this type of tree to line the streets.
Trees have other health benefits, including being good for our mental well-being. They offer a relaxing and calming environment, are found in areas where people exercise, and wood has been shown to help with mental tiredness and cognitive function. are effective air filters.
To give wildlife food and shelter
Much of the UK’s wildlife relies on trees for their survival, providing a much-needed habitat. Birds need trees for their nests, small mammals use the trunk and roots while bats make their home inside trunks. Oak trees in particular provide massive support for wildlife, including almost 300 species of insects.
To stop flooding
Trees act as useful flood defences, particularly when located close to streams, brooks and rivers. They can help to absorb large amounts of rainwater from flowing into different watercourses and flooding. Rivers and streams with lots of trees are less likely to burst their banks and flood nearby low-lying land. They also help to stop pollution run-off and soil erosion.
To shelter from weather extremes
For people and animals alike, trees offer the perfect refuge to escape from the heat of the midday sun or the harsh frosts of winter. During hot weather, leaves release water vapour into the air to cool it and provide shade. During cold, windy or hot spells, animals like livestock, in particular, benefit from the shelter that trees can provide.