Trees play a vital role in our ecosystem. They provide us with oxygen, food and shelter.
We also benefit from their beauty and shade. However, we are not the only species that depend on trees for survival.
Trees have been around since the beginning of time. They are one of the oldest living things on earth. In fact, they were already present when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
Scientists believe that there is an ancient tree dating back to the age of dinosaurs. The fossilized remains of this tree were discovered by scientists in China.
Trees help regulate the temperature of the air. When it gets too hot or cold, trees release water through their leaves. This helps keep the air cool.
Water evaporates from the leaves and forms clouds. These clouds reflect sunlight away from the Earth. As a result, the sun does not heat up the ground.
They protect us from the elements. Their branches and trunks form a canopy over our heads. Trees filter out pollutants from the atmosphere. Leaves trap dust particles.
They also capture gasses like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Carbon dioxide is released during respiration.
Nitrogen oxides are emitted during combustion processes. Both of these gasses contribute to global warming.
So as you can see, trees are vital for our survival. But lately, humans have taken to cutting them down in their masses.
The felling of trees is, to a certain extent, necessary, as wood is a primary building and crafting material, but we humans have been known to tear through forests quicker than we can cultivate new ones.
So, are trees a renewable resource, or are we playing it a little fast and loose with one of the most precious life forms on the planet?
What’s A Renewable Resource?
A renewable resource is something that can be used continuously without depleting its supply. An example of a non-renewable resource would be oil or coal.
In fact, any fossil fuel resource is classed as a non-renewable resource, as they take millions of years to form.
The reason why people are concerned about deforestation is that they feel that trees are a natural resource that should last forever.
Deforestation means taking trees apart and putting them into smaller pieces than before.
If we continue to cut down trees at such a rapid rate, we won’t be able to replace them quickly enough.
Eventually, people believe we’ll run out of trees. That’s what leads to environmental problems.
Are Trees A Renewable Resource?
Trees are in fact a renewable resource, or perhaps a better way of putting it is that trees can be a renewable resource — it all comes down to how responsibly they’re harvested and planted.
Trees are renewable because they re-grow. Not necessarily once cut, but we’re capable of replanting new trees.
About 1/3rd of the earth is covered in trees and we take full advantage of those resources.
On average, about 80,000 acres of forest are cut down a day. This may seem like a huge number, and that’s because it is.
That’s the equivalent of about 60 football fields. The worry is that we’re cutting down way too many trees.
Up until recently, we cut down more trees than we planted. But within the last few decades, we’ve realized how important trees are to the delicate ecosystem.
Trees are a renewable resource but we just weren’t renewing them as much as we should have.
But now we know the importance of renewing our trees. In 1990 the replanting rate was about 19,000 a day. That number has more than multiplied, it’s exploded.
We now plant an average of 1 million trees a day. This has significantly helped the ecosystem recover from years of deforestation.
We’re not only planting trees, we’re also planting other types of vegetation. For instance, grasses and shrubs. These help to improve water quality by filtering out pollutants.
They also provide food for animals. So we’re doing everything we can to preserve our environment.
This is important for future generations. By beginning to increase our replanting rate we’re beginning to help to heal the ozone layer.
Imagine how much we will have healed it in a few more decades when the current replanted trees reach maturity.
Remember the Indian proverb, ‘blessed is he who plants trees under whose shade he will never sit.’
We’ve seen that trees are important to our environment. They help regulate the climate and prevent pollution. If we don’t take care of them, they will disappear.
That’s why replanting is so important. We’re lucky because trees are a renewable resource.
But trees are not like other plants that can naturally and automatically renew, not at a rate that can keep up with deforestation. As such, they must be planted by people.
Deforestation is a big problem. It’s one of the biggest contributors to global warming. And it’s something that we need to address.
Because while the effects are devastating for trees, there’s also a whole lot of other pollution that comes with deforestation that we don’t really take into consideration.
Operating the heavy, industrial machinery releases loads of pollutants into the air.
And just think, there’s 80,000 acres worth of pollution going on. Now more than ever, caring for the environment is important.
We need to make sure that we protect our forests. We need to make certain that we continue to plant trees. And we need to do this for future generations.
There are ways in which you can help. You might not be going out and cutting down trees yourself, but buying paper and tree-based products contribute to the cycle of consumption.
And the more trees that are consumed, the more that are cut down.
Switching to recycled materials and going as digital as you can are fantastic modern solutions to an age-old problem.
So if you want to help the environment, then start thinking about your own life choices. Make sure that you’re using sustainable resources.
Start recycling and buy less paper and tree-based things. And most importantly, plant some trees if you can!