Backyard Habitats, Climate Change, conservation, Gardening, Plants, The Art of Ecology

TreeHugger – Yup, That’s Me and Here’s why!


Happy Arbor Day everyone! (sort of – it’s the last Friday in April – but let’s celebrate anyway!)

There are so many reasons to love trees beyond “they look nice”. Even hugging trees has it’s benefits (click here for more information on getting immersed in forests). Here are my top reasons for getting excited about trees:

  1. Provide Oxygen – You know, the stuff we breath! We inhale oxygen (O2), and exhale Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Trees go through this complicated process called photosynthesis, which is where they take in sunlight, water (H2O), and CO2 in order to create their food source of Glucose (C6H12O6). As they create glucose, they also create some leftover bits – those leftover bits just happen to be excess Oxygen molecules! How cool is it that trees take in what our bodies consider to be waste, and transform it into something that our bodies need?!
  2. Store Up Carbon Dioxide – Trees have the amazing ability to store up, or sequester, CO2! This is great news because as we increase our CO2 production, Climate Change speeds up. As more plants like trees store that CO2, Climate Change can be slowed! Read more about how trees sequester carbon dioxide in urban environments.
  3. Prevent Land From Flowing Away! – The strong roots of trees act as fingers that reach out and grab soil which hold it in place during times of heavy rain! The #1 water pollutant in Pennsylvania is NOT chemicals – it’s sediment! Sediment gets washed (or eroded) into streams in areas that lack strong root systems, and settles to the bottom. This sediment gets caught in small invertebrates gills and can choke them up! Without those important critters, the food chain would get all messed up.
  4. Provide Animal Habitat – Animals like birds, mammals, and reptiles all around the world rely on trees as their homes. Not only do trees provide nesting habitat, but they also provide shelter and protection for these animals. As deforestation continues (mainly due to improper agriculture practices which goes back to causing erosion…) many animal species have become critically endangered.
  5. Provide Food for Animals – Flowers, Bark, Nuts, Seeds, Sap, and Leaves are all important parts of various animal diets. Without trees, those animals would lack their food source and decline rapidly. Several trees are host species for butterfly larvae as well! Without the Tulip Poplar, butterflies like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, would not be able to survive since they use the tree as a larval host plant. Browsing herbivores need the hearty bark and small twigs to grind their teeth down too!
  6. Provide Food for Humans – Let’s not just think of the cute orangutan or baby fawns! Let’s think of our own health too! Many parts of trees are edible and provide us with some amazing foods. Who likes pomegranates (super-food!), apples, oranges, bananas, pistachios, maple syrup, or loose leaf tea? I know that I do!
  7. Creating Shelter from the Weather – Humans use trees too to act as natural wind barriers and natural air-conditioning! Trees provide shade and when planted strategically, they can reduce your energy consumption on things like cooling (and heating in the winter due to the wind reduction and insulation they provide) by roughly 30% or more!
  8. Increase Property Value – By planting the right tree in the right place, you can increase your property value. By having healthy, well-maintained trees, you can increase your property value by thousands of dollars! Who doesn’t want that extra money in their pocket someday!
  9. Make You Feel Safer – Ever go into an urban neighborhood and find how much you like the neighborhoods that have more street trees? Do you feel more relaxed in rural settings that have beautiful trees? That’s because trees are associated with safety. being surrounded by green makes people feel more at ease. In fact, areas that have more trees have noticed a decrease in crime rates!
  10. Last but not least: Outlive Us – Trees are magnificent. Trees are ancient and remarkable. Trees give us something to watch and observe for decades. The oldest tree in the world is older than the Egyptian Pyramids and has stood the test of time. It’s aged at roughly 5,000 years old and lives in California. It is currently being preserved and protected by the National Forest Service. Trees provide us with a history and have a story to tell throughout the ages.

Trees are great. Feel like you need more of them in your life? Want to be immersed in their leafy canopies? Check out my shop and snag enough photo prints to make your home feel like heaven!



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