How trees help the environment

Trees are an invaluable resource on this planet, helping the environment by producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and contaminants from the air.

Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Trees also shade buildings, streets, and homes. If enough trees are planted in cities, the overall microclimate improves and total energy use for heating and cooling is reduced.

Having trees planted in your neighbourhood is one of the best things that can be done for the local environment and for the planet.

Here are a number of ways how trees benefit the environment:

  1. Trees reduce CO2 – CO2 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect. Trees trap CO2 from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth. This carbon dioxide becomes sugars that can then be eaten, burnt for fuel, or simply enjoyed in its leafy form. Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen, which is needed to sustain human life.
  2. Trees reduce ozone levels both globally and locally – In large cities, a reduction in ozone can mean milder temperatures and more breathable air.
  3. Trees reduce erosion – This is because their roots physically keep soil from washing away, but also because tree roots absorb and store water. A tree canopy can reduce the force of rain hitting the ground from a deluge to a gentle sprinkle, further preventing erosion.
  4. Trees can reduce heating and air conditioning costs – Trees tend to be clustered around homes for this very fact. Homeowners want trees there, not just for their shady beauty, but for their effect on temperature. Trees absorb heat in the summer, providing shade that can cool a house. In the winter months, trees provide a windbreak and trap heat. Trees can save people a substantial amount on heating and cooling households.
  5. Trees trap dust and debris – Dust, smog, and other particles in the air collect on the leaves and tend to stick there. This creates generally cleaner air for people and animals to breath, which can be important for quality of life in both cities and dusty agricultural areas.
  6. Trees provide an ecosystem for animals, insects, and other life – Trees are an important part of many ecosystems. They are not just part of the carbon cycle, but also a home and a food source for wildlife.
  7. Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution – Trees and shrubs produce a masking effect through the rustling of leaves, the movement of branches in the wind, the sounds of birds, insects and other animals.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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