What values do trees or forest offer other than lumber?

How could she show her respect for a little birch tree that true self mattered as the essence of Nature’s power to share family, community and environment? Why couldn’t they understand that any being, or anybody is more than just about a brain and genes, but a whole ecosystem of connections surrounding oneself?

Excerpt from Ecological Succession of Birchum Birch

Have you really stopped and looked at a tree? Have you checked beneath the dirt to see what makes it stand so strong? Have you used X-ray vision to show how the inside organization works with both up-and-down flow of nutrients? Have you connected each leave to the sun’s energy and the inside layer of chloroplasts cells containing chlorophyll that combine the sun’s energy with carbon dioxide and water to make a carbohydrate compound, the primary source of food on Earth?

There is so much more to know about a single tree beyond beautifying our surroundings and adding cool shade and reducing wind. There is a far greater relationship to its natural environment as it provides shelter and food to a diverse collection of living things.

Imagine what a forest of trees can provide. Forests cover more than 30% of the Earth’s land surface. (World Wildlife Fund)

The main advantages are:

  • 80% of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests
  • monitors climate change
  • prevents fertile land from erosion or becoming too arid
  • produces a carbohydrate compound called cellulose used to make clothes and paper (via photosynthesis)
  • supplies three-quarters of the Earth’s freshwater from its watersheds
  • manufactures precious oxygen back to the air to breathe
  • absorbs carbon dioxide thus helping to mitigate greenhouse gases produced by human activity
  • plays an important role in carbon sequestration, or the capture and storage of excess carbon dioxide including the soil

(Note: As a tree matures, it can consume 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and releases enough oxygen for you to breathe for two years!)

It’s impossible to imagine a world without forests. But you don’t need to imagine a world where deforestation is increasing several dire consequences for Nature’s sustainability and our planet Earth.

Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees to make room for something else such as more agricultural land, ranching, or using the timber for construction and manufacturing.

Deforestation is seen as the second-leading cause of climate change because less carbon dioxide is removed from the air, as well as producing nearly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Burning fossil fuels is the first. (The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

Of major concern is that jungle habitats and their animals are becoming decimated. Tropical trees are being cut down for four reasons: to make wood products, raise beef cattle, plant soy crops and grow palm oil plantations. Palm oil is cheap, versatile and commonly found in nearly half of supermarket products from crackers to lipsticks and shampoo. Even though this production is profitable for companies, it has also resulted in land grabs, social conflict, and violation of human rights.

But the restorative power of Nature will return if given a chance.

The trees of the forest can be replanted in cleared areas or simply allow the forest ecosystem to regenerate over time as natural plant succession. In time, through the power of ecological succession plant life will reestablish, wildlife will return, water systems will reemerge, carbon will continue to be sequestered, and soils will be replenished.

In some ways, people can do their part to limit their support for deforestation. You can buy certified wood products, use less paper, and not consume products that use palm oil.

Of course, plant a tree when possible. If not, find a pet tree and delight in its being.

Of course, take a walk in the forest. Share the spirit of the forest where you can renew a sense of wonderment of peaceful co-existence.