A simple guide for humans and other animals
Who needs air?
Everyone knows that trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen (O2), but did you know that trees also remove nasty particles from the air we breathe?
Nasties, like sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NO), carbon monoxide (CO), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb), are produced by our cars and industries. These particles can cause very serious illness in us humans, so it is very important that we control the levels of these pollutants in our environment.
Luckily, we have a plan! Tree leaves are great for catching and filtering these harmful particles. Once they stick to the leaf, the rain will wash them into the soil where they are less harmful, and nature can do its best to deal with them. So, it’s important that we allow our trees to grow big and healthy if they are to provide this service.
Who needs money?
Everyone knows that humans like money, but did you know that trees can add real value to our villages and towns?
Many clever humans have proven that the money value of your house can be increased when surrounded by happy, healthy trees. This is because people want to live somewhere that looks and feels good, and trees are great for that.
More clever humans have also proven that people spend more money in shopping areas with healthy, happy trees, and that workers are more productive when their workplace is surrounded by trees. This increase in spending and productivity means more money in the local economy, and that benefits everyone. Trees will only pay us back like this if they are healthy and can reach maturity, so it’s important to accept them and give them what they want.
Who needs to be happy?
Real scientists, not those pretend ones, have shown that having trees around us makes us happier and healthier.
Healthy, established trees in our towns are shown to reduce the stress of being a human in the modern world. They have also been shown to reduce crime and calm traffic (in the UK at least). Trees around hospitals have been shown to increase the speed of patient recovery!
As the urban environment grows in size, and more humans find themselves living and working their busy lives in them, it is now more important than ever, for our health and happiness, that we have as many healthy and happy trees around us as possible.
By planting trees now, we will be giving a gift to future generations, because it doesn’t look like life will slow down anytime soon.
Who needs wildlife?
As the number of humans on earth increases, we require more and more space for our homes and workplaces. This results in a loss of trees and woodlands and reduces the amount of space wildlife has for itself.
As the plants and other animals lose their homes and workplaces (habitats) their numbers are reduced. As their populations shrink, they can become even more vulnerable to predators, illness and starvation, which can mean they are lost forever. This is not just bad news for wildlife. If we lose too many species, we lose the diversity, and this will eventually impact the humans.
Luckily, with enough planting, we will be forming new habitats for wildlife and linking together habitats so that plants and other animals can spread and mix, which is very important. Wildlife will only really benefit if we plant trees and woodlands, link trees and woodlands together, and make sure that all these trees exist for many years into the future.
Who needs atmosphere?
Carbon (C) is the building-block for all life on earth. You included. When we are finished with these bodies, we give them back to the Earth who locks them away in her crust.
This all worked very well until the humans realised that they could burn the carbon to power their cars, homes and factories. The problem with this is that it releases the carbon into Earth’s atmosphere and causes the temperature to rise.
Rising temperature may mean more ice cream but it can also mean other, less delicious problems, like drought; flooding; dangerous wind speeds; rising sea levels; increase in ocean acidity; more plant diseases…. The list goes on.
Not to fear. It turns out that trees and the soils around trees are the best chance we have of removing carbon from the atmosphere and locking it away once again. For this to work we need to plant as many trees as we can, replant new trees where trees are lost, look after the trees we already have and respect the soils around them.
Who needs to get involved?
You guessed it… The humans. That’s you, your mum and dad, brother and sister, next-door neighbour, favourite dinner lady and Tony. Everyone.
You don’t have to just plant trees. You can share information like this with your friends, family and next-door neighbour. You can also encourage people to complain less about trees and to accept them as a very important part of our lives.
Sustainable tree planting must begin here and continue long into the future if we are to have happy and healthy trees, wildlife, atmosphere and humans. So, to answer the question, “Who Needs Trees?”: We do.
Produced by Ben Brooker
- Landscape and Urban Planning. The value of tree, water and open space as reflected by house prices in the Netherlands, 2000
- Bright View, Big trees make you property value grow, 2018
- Bin Zheng, Yaoqi Zhang, Jeff Sibley, Jingyang Deng and Carolyn Robinson, Impact of Urban Trees and Landscaping on Tourism and Sustainable Development, 2003
- Green Blue Urban, Health benefits of urban trees
- Scientific America, How hospital gardens help patients heal, 2012
- Wisconsin DNR Forestry News, Reduce crime and violence with trees in your neighbourhood, 2018
- NC State University, Tree facts,
- ICF, Trees can reduce flooding, 2017
- Fig.1 – https://www.vippng.com/preview/momhJo_plant-clipart-cartoon-tree-cartoon-transparent-png/
- Fig. 2 – https://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/breathing?sort=best&mediatype=illustration&phrase=breathing
- Fig. 3 – https://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/money-tree?sort=best&mediatype=illustration&phrase=money%20tree
- Fig. 4 – https://myrealdomain.com/explore/walk-clipart-mindful.html
- Fig. 5 – https://www.istockphoto.com/illustrations/woodland-animals?sort=best&mediatype=illustration&phrase=woodland%20animals
- Fig. 6 – http://clipart-library.com/atmosphere-cliparts.html
- Fig 7. – https://twitter.com/fothcp/status/699579009471012864