Imagine the Earth with a double amount of trees. Since the beginning of our civilization, humans have removed 46% of trees in the world. With our vast urban sprawl and wide grasslands, it’s difficult to imagine what a woodland world was like.
In the year 2019 alone there was a loss of 29 million acres of forest cover due to deforestation, logging, and fires. This is equivalent to the size of a soccer field with forests every 6 seconds. Climate change hasn’t helped things: New research suggests that deforestation, in conjunction with rising temperatures, is altering the forests that remain which makes trees less dense and younger. To ensure a safe and sustainable future, we need to regenerate these forest habitats. Here are five reasons why we require trees.
1) Trees cleanse our air and fight climate change
They are also carbon sinks that aid in slowing the pace of climate change by taking carbon dioxide from the air and storage in tree trunks and soil. Old-growth trees — those who have reached their old years without significant human interference like logging — store greater quantities of pollutants and carbon than younger counterparts.
Today, trees absorb a third of the world’s emissions each. The forest losses of 2019 caused the release of carbon equivalent to the addition of 400 million vehicles on the road over the course of a year. Even the smallest quantities of air pollution can result in a variety of health issues, with a greater risk of dying from COVID-19which can affect people in different ways.
2) Trees are the home of millions of species, and they safeguard us from illness
The majority of species of animals and plants that live on Earth reside in forests. We are aware that more than a million species around the world are at risk of being extinct however, new research published this week suggests the species’ deaths are taking place more quickly than we anticipated.
The majority of our medicines originate from plants in the rainforest. And when you include the coral reef species (which are also in danger of being destroyed) The species account for 40 to 50 percent of our medicines. While we invade and degrade forest habitats, we’re losing these important species and increasing the risk of extinction.
In the past, three of four new infective diseases that affect humans come from animals. And this rate has only increased since we’ve moved into habitats for wildlife and have increased contact. However, studies have shown that the high biodiversity levels actually create a “dilution effect” on disease within hosts, making the disease less likely to transfer onto humans.
So, securing forests and the species within them can help stop the next outbreak of pandemics.
3) Trees cool our cities and streets
The year 2019 was the second-hottest year in history. The hottest year on record will be 2020.
However, trees can help cool however, they can cool the Earth because they block sunlight while supplying shade. For instance, surfaces that are shaded can be 20-45degF (11-25degC) warmer than non-shaded surfaces.
That means that trees help reduce the energy used for heating and cooling. Three trees in the vicinity of your home could cut down on the cost of air conditioning by as much as 30 percent, and also by providing windbreaks reduce the quantity of energy needed to keep a house warm.
Trees can also control the climate by evapotranspiration- an action whereby water is drawn through the soil by the roots and evaporates out of the leaves. The air around it cools as the water turns into evaporating. One oak tree, as an example, could release the equivalent of 40,000 gallons of water to the atmosphere in a single year.
To reduce the effects of the heat of concrete construction in cities research suggests that we should have at minimum 40 percent coverage for the canopy. More than half the world’s population living in cities — which is notoriously hotter due to concrete, air quality issues with limited shade, and a lack of green spaces, as well as buildings, need to do everything possible ways to combat the heat.
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4) Trees guard against flooding and water pollution
Trees that are mature protect communities from flooding and landslides through stabilizing soils and absorption of water — anywhere between 1500 to 2,000 gallons of water each year. On the other hand (hah) the absence of trees can result in an increase in flooding.
Tree roots also remove polluting chemicals that cause harm out of storm runoff, which eventually reaches rivers, lakes, and streams. Forests provide safe drinking water to about 57 million people in India.
Simply put the opposite is true: more trees = more clean water.
5) Trees relax the mind during stressful times
As long as we don’t stop trying to degrade the environment, it will result in very stressful living situations such as massive storms, droughts, or pandemics. Trees have a double impact on the society they live in combating climate change and relieving stress.
Trees in rural, and particularly, urban areas can benefit our physical and mental health. Recent research has concluded that urban vegetation is one of the most effective ways that metro areas can help residents who are isolated.
A few minutes outside can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety and strengthen the immune system. However, there are some benefits to looking out windows, such as greater satisfaction at work.