Why Are Trees So Important? (Chapter 1)
Updated: Jun 14, 2022
Brief Biology Lesson
Here’s a bit of the science stuff. Whilst trees grow, they use sunlight to absorb carbon dioxide from the air and store it as carbon in the form of wood.
This process is known as photosynthesis.
The trees then use this carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars, which in turn provide the energy required to produce oxygen. And we all know oxygen is good. Put simply, the more trees we have the more carbon is removed from the atmosphere and the more oxygen is produced.
Younger trees absorb carbon dioxide much quicker when they grow, more so than when a tree has reached its growth limit, so if they are harvested at this pinnacle growth point and new trees are planted alongside it can really help a forest thrive and maximize the amount of carbon absorption.
Harsh Reality of Deforestation
Some tree types are quickly becoming extinct with large forests all over the world being recklessly destroyed. Mass deforestation has a huge impact on everything that surrounds the area, not to mention the benefits of carbon reduction in the global atmosphere.
Brazilian Amazon deforestation might not seem very relevant. It happens thousands of miles from home, exotic and remote. You might not realize the harm of buying new Mahogany flooring or Teak garden furniture. But buying unsustainable wood has a profound effect on the areas where it’s harvested, including human rights abuses, hunting of endangered species, threatening the lifestyles and the lives of indigenous tribes, as well as making countless rare and threatened creatures homeless.
There’s also the story of what happened to the inhabitants of Easter Island. A once thriving community with a population of over 2000 people on this small Polynesian island, rapidly reduced to only a mere 100 due to deforestation. The Rapanui people of the island greatly underestimated their resources, and from clearing masses of trees to make canoes, clearing land for cultivation, and building pathways, the ecosystem surrounding them could no longer survive. They effectively destroyed the carefully balanced system that supported all life on the island when they removed too many trees.
Ghana is making significant progress toward the sustainable management of cocoa forest landscapes, boosting livelihoods, and addressing the impacts of climate change
Just 8% of the world’s forest is properly protected from destruction. The timber industry is insatiable, as is our demand for wood. And much of the time it’s harvested unsustainably despite the best efforts of conservationists, governments, and lawmakers. Sadly, money often speaks louder than common sense and today is often more important than the future. In Malaysia, for example, timber production demands more trees than there are in existence. In some areas there are no trees left and wood is being smuggled in from Indonesia to meet demand.
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