Climate change, global warming, climate protests – these are not just buzz words, these are the words used by the younger generation to raise their concerns about our environment and it is time that everybody started listening to their message. There is a growing movement around the world that is focusing on protecting the earth for future generations and every action counts. You don’t need to protest on the streets to make a contribution to the survival of our planet, planting trees can go a long way towards restoring the health of the earth.
The Benefits of Forests
Besides looking beautiful, providing a livelihood for RESIDENTS and a habitat for countless animals, trees play a crucial role in our larger environment. Forests provide natural climate solutions by helping reduce the effects of global warming and air pollution as well as boosting rainfall. Environmentalists estimate that reforestation and ecological restoration could provide over 35% of the greenhouse gas mitigation needed to help stabilize global warming and keep us below the critical 2oC threshold.
Planting trees vastly improves the quality of our natural surroundings. Forests and copses of trees reduce the risks of soil erosion, enhance the water quality in streams and ponds, and protect groundwater supplies. Forests store water on the canopy, leaves, and stems of trees but water is also absorbed and retained in plant tissue before being released back into the environment through a combination of evaporation and transpiration.
Trees play a pivotal role in the hydrologic cycle; the complex process and sequence of conditions that allow water to be converted from vapour in the atmosphere to precipitation on land and back into vapour through evaporation and transpiration. This process has an impact on surface and soil moisture, ecology, vegetation, animal life, and sedimentation, making it crucial to our survival on earth.
Fallow land and areas where large scale tree removal has occurred are far more susceptible to soil erosion. Without vegetation, rain is either absorbed by the soil or runs off into streams as surface drainage. During storms and heavy rainfall, surface runoff becomes excessive and loose topsoil is eroded and washed away. When the topsoil or organic soil layer is eroded the mineral soil layer is exposed and once this happens, little or no vegetation will grow in the area to stabilize the bare earth and mudslides and rockslides become more common.
Planting on a Large Scale
Every tree counts and you don’t need to plant on a big scale but the more trees that governments, municipalities, communities and individual’s plant, the better off we will be. In July this year, Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in a single day. This was part of a wider reforestation campaign called “Green Legacy” that is being spearheaded by the government and is encouraging every Ethiopian to plant at least 40 seedlings. Some Ethiopian government offices even closed for the day to allow their staff to take part in this country-wide green initiative.
In North America where the emerald ash borer is wreaking havoc and there are few treatment options, it has become more important than ever to plant new trees to replace those that have died or been removed. 50 MTP (50 Million Tree Program) is a Forests Ontario tree planting program that is supported by the Government of Canada. The goal of the project is to promote tree planting, increase forest education and stewardship, and raise awareness about the importance of forests. As of this year, Forests Ontario has planted more than 27 million trees and produced 15,000 hectares of new forest.
Be Global but Think Local
Planting trees doesn’t just benefit the planet as a whole, it also benefits you and your local community. Tree-lined streets add curb appeal and attract birds and wildlife to your neighbourhood and planting trees on the open, unutilized ground in your neighbourhood can provide wonderful recreational areas and green belts for the entire community to enjoy. Trees can also act as windbreaks and natural snow fences. Big, established trees in your garden provide shade and privacy as well as increasing the value of your home and making it more attractive to buyers.
But before you rush out and plant as many trees as possible, remember that non-native plantations can cause problems for biodiversity, animal habitats, and local livelihoods so consult your arborist for advice.
Contact Martin’s Tree Service today for all your tree planting, tree removal, and maintenance needs.