The Importance of Native Trees to Our Environment
By Su Fiske | Inland Bays Garden Center Dec 29, 2022
So, if you have not realized already, I love trees. There is nothing that soothes my soul more than a walk in the woods, camping, or enjoying the trees in my own yard. There are studies that have proven plants, trees, and forests are important to our mental and emotional health. Trees are like us humans in that each one is different and special. You have read about a couple of my favorite trees, now I am going to tell you why they are important to you, me, and everyone else on this planet.
First, trees are closely tied into our mental health by providing solace and an enjoyable environment, our physical health by cleaning the air we breathe and storing carbon dioxide, and our native wildlife by offering shelter and food. They provide us with shade, which we are going to need more of as the climate warms. Trees can help slow wind speeds and help with storm surges with their amazing root systems. They can slow erosion, provide healthy soils, and absorb rainwater which helps reduce water runoff
Trees clean the air of particulate material from the burning of fossil fuels, which is harmful to our lungs. Also, a mature tree can convert over 26 pounds of carbon dioxide into oxygen every year. The mature trees remove up to 60 times more pollution than younger trees, which is why they are so important to keep whenever possible. They store carbon dioxide throughout their lives which slows done the gas in our atmosphere that is causing rapid global warming. Using more concern when thinking of tree removal could help store more carbon, which is the same as less vehicles using our roads.
We should not randomly or in mass remove trees. Native trees grow bark, leaves, and fruit that feed native insects (and pollinators), which in turn feed the next species in the food chain. Removal disrupts that supply chain and in turn adversely affects our environment. Even removing dead trees and branches causes habitat loss to smaller mammals. Each tree is an independent ecosystem that provides food and habitat for specific species. Since we do not take this into consideration when making room for development, we are causing the loss of native species. This in turn opens the gap to nonnative species that find it too easy to invade under any circumstance. Even that area around the base of trees is special. That area is a safety zone for larvae and microscopic life. When you mow around the host trees you have killed important pollinators, one of which is the exquisite Lunar moth.
Native trees are beneficial to our environment since they do not need the fertilizers nonnatives do. They are better for our environment than lawns which use more pesticides, fertilizers, and water than is used for most farm crops. Want to save money, plant gardens instead of lawns. Beautiful trees can add value to your home, in fact the trees in my yard were the specific reason I purchased my property instead of one with upgrades in the house but no trees in the yard
Another reason to save trees is that a TNC scientist showed that spending time in nature directly corresponds to a drop in anxiety and depression. Also, since we are more active when we are around nature this can lower the rate of obesity. “Playing through the greenery and litter of a mini forest’s undergrowth for just one month may be enough to change a child’s immune system, according to an experiment in Finland. The diversity of microbes in the guts and on the skin of the young kids appeared healthier in a very short space of time.”
Read the article in the Coastal Point here.