7 Reasons to Plant 5 Trees
Here are some of the best reasons to support tree planting—in your own community, around the country, or across the globe.
1. Climate Change
Trees trap and store carbon dioxide—the dominant greenhouse gas that drives climate change. With bad storms increasing, healthy forests are even more critical, as trees also slow rainwater as it falls. This reduces erosion, mud slides and similar problems.
2. Health & Recreation
Urban life shouldn’t mean urban deserts. When development devours land near population centers, walking in the woods becomes an experience only the luckily-located can enjoy. Preserving or replanting urban forests encourages everyone to see trees as an essential part of life, and getting out to hike, run or bike among them as a natural way to exercise.
3. Community Restoration
Just like urban gardens, urban woods and forested parks bring communities together and, critically, teach our children to feel as at home in nature as they do in front of a television. Trees attract people, and forests offer both activity and retreat. Overall, there is less crime in urban areas that are rich with trees.
4. Wildlife Habitat
Hundreds of species of animals and plants depend on forests to survive. When forests are cut up and fragmented, many species lose their interconnected habitats. Many native species die out when forested areas are destroyed, and invasive species arrive right after the bulldozers. If current trends continue, due to habitat loss a stunning 1 million more species worldwide will become endangered in the next 50 years.
5. Water Purification
Forests provide 60% of the fresh water used in the U.S., yet while we are using more water we are destroying more trees. The numbers of endangered fish species are increasing. Trees are essential to sustain aquatic life and filter the massive pollution from agricultural runoff that damages our river and bay ecosystems. “Riparian” or streamside forests purify water. Trees also help prevent soil erosion and cool water temperature.
6. Forest Fire Control
Although some fires are natural and help forest ecosystems, many wildfires are different today. With so much natural habitat destroyed and climate change causing widespread drought, insect infestations and diseases are spreading, weakening trees and making them less able to “bounce back” after a fire. Drought-affected forest fuel is drier, so fires burn more intensely. Maintaining healthy forests and replanting burned areas is critical.
Objective reasons to plant trees abound. But another motivation may be the only one you need: trees are beautiful. Their majesty inspires us to think beyond ourselves, to recognize we’re one part of nature. Their leaves make sounds as lovely as any music. Their colors defy counting. Their bark and branches offer us textures we can’t touch anywhere else. Their shade gives us natural cooling. As a species dependent on trees, we recognize their friendship in our deepest selves.
So go ahead, hug a tree. In its own way, it will thank you.