March 27, 2015
Proper tree service can help prevent loss of trees in your area. We often hear about the harm that deforestation causes to the environment but we seldom hear about the benefits that people can derive from planting trees. Even if the forests being cut down are half a world away, anyone has the ability to plant a tree. All you need is a little bit of land and some water. But why should we plant more trees? After all if you plant too many trees near your house they may damage it.
Trees are a great resource for many reasons. They control erosion by holding the soil together with their roots. Some trees are better at fighting erosion than others, but all trees help to maintain soil stability.
Another way that trees benefit the soil is to act as windbreaks. Conservationist Hugh Hammond Bennett championed the use of trees as a mechanism to restore the dusty Great Plains of North America to a healthy state after the immense drought of the 1930s, coupled with bad farming practices, almost completely destroyed the region. By planting rows of trees as windbreaks, and channeling water to those windbreaks through ditches, farmers were able to reverse the desertification of the Great Plains.
Desertification is a natural process by which a once lush and fertile area gradually becomes dry and sandy; and there are some areas of the world that have alternated between deserts and forests many times over the eons of Earth’s geological history. The Sahara Desert is the most well-known of these geologically active areas. The Sahara, which has been well-watered and forested in past eons, needs the monsoon rains that irrigate central Africa. When weather patterns drive those rains north the Sahara becomes green and fertile.
Scientists have thought about planting drought-resistant trees to fight the encroachment of the Sahara Desert as it expands southward. These trees will prevent the soil from blowing away in the wind and help the ground retain water. Over time the trees can help restore local rainstorms to an environment by evaporating some of their water into local storm formation points.
Trees not only protect the soil and store water, they also store carbon. Carbon is one of the most plentiful elements on Earth but when too much carbon is released into the atmosphere the sun’s heat is trapped on the planet and the world becomes warmer. Global warming is a natural process that has happened time and again across Earth’s geological history. The current global warming phase began some 12-to-15,000 years ago when the vast glaciers that once covered northern Europe, Asia, and North America began to melt.
Deforestation is one of the processes that has increased the amount of carbon in our atmosphere. By cutting down and burning trees to clear land, people release a large amount of carbon into the air. That carbon gradually contributes to the warming process, accelerating global warming. By planting more trees around the globe we can compensate for the loss of our natural forests and pull some carbon back out of the air.
Although there are other sources of carbon emissions, such as the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil, trees offer a simple, natural way to counteract the increasing levels of carbon in our atmosphere. We could be planting many more trees than we already do. In fact, by combining forestation projects with water distillation projects we could restore many desert areas to green lushness with relative ease. Water purification plants are expensive because we use them primarily to extract drinking water from seawater. But if we only purify the water enough to use it for irrigation we can plant whole new forests without much effort.
Trees are also a great natural resource. Trees supply us with fruits and nuts that are healthy for our bodies, and we also use their wood to construct buildings and make furniture. Many timber companies now maintain tree farms where they plant new trees to replace the trees they have cut down. In this way they limit their use of trees to relatively small areas, thus allowing natural forests to flourish. The demand for wood and other tree products will only grow as our population increases, so the better we manage our timber industries the longer we will be able to enjoy the benefits of managed forestry.