The Role of Trees in Our Environment

The Role of Trees in Our Environment is Too VITAL. Conserve Them

The Earth is getting destroyed. We humans are at fault. Let us work together to save it. Save it for ourselves and for future generations.
We won't have a society if we destroy the environment. ―Margaret Mead

The planet Earth is a gift to us by God. It has sustained life for millions of years, be it in any form. Resources on which we thrive have been in abundance. But, as man pushes forward for more and more, he has forgotten the importance of saving our planet so that its resources last for millions of years more. Urbanization, pollution, and other related activities have contributed to environmental hazards, global warming, and depletion of the planet's resources.

Trees and the Environment

Trees are the largest of all land plants, and act as a kind of environmental "buffer" for the ecosystem they dominate. They help improve the extremes of climate, such as heat, cold, and wind, and create a surrounding where humans, mammals, insects, birds, etc., can live comfortably. Trees complement animals in the global environment. Mammals/Humans take in oxygen from the air and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants use this carbon dioxide in their growth processes, store the carbon in woody tissues, and then return oxygen to the atmosphere as a waste product. This process is known as photosynthesis, and is very essential to life. Carbon captured from the atmosphere by photosynthesis is eventually recycled through the environment in a process known as the carbon cycle. Trees have an especially important role in the carbon cycle. Tree leaves also act as filters to remove atmospheric pollutants from the air. This effect is particularly beneficial in urban areas.

Today, many urban areas are faced with excessive population, along with the pressure of unplanned economic development, industrialization, and vehicular emissions. This has led to considerable rise in urban pollution, affecting air, water, and land. Air pollution has increased rapidly in many cities and metropolises, specially due to vehicular traffic and industrial emissions.

Secondly, the urban areas are growing at an alarming rate, and the cost of building and maintaining air quality, water and energy needs for residents has created a seemingly impossible challenge. Cities need to incorporate ecological principles into better urban planning and development. Trees are the lungs, water filters, and air conditioners of our cities. Cities need to build according to nature's laws and rise above the financial, ecological, and social tides of urban growth.

Today, we can see only walls, buildings, cars, large signboards/hoardings, tar roads, runways, and concrete instead of plants, gardens, or trees. Today, trees are disappearing from our surroundings faster than we can imagine. There is a dramatic loss in their numbers in urban areas. Sometimes, even if replacements are planted, they are often species of trees that will not become large. These are of no benefits to the ecological system. We are used to having clean looks and pure finishes (houses, cars etc.), and a polished lifestyle. But, we never take care of nature. We are the only ones responsible for the imbalance of nature.

A general survey of a metropolitan city shows that due to huge quantity of concrete and less quantity of trees, there is very less rainfall. The final result is that due to modernization, fast life and ignorance towards nature, today, nature is almost disappearing due to this imbalance. This is a major contribution towards global warming. It has also resulted in other lop-sided calamities like flash floods, acid rain, drought, etc.

The risks to our health and well-being from removing trees are far higher. The benefits that urban trees bring, are only just being formally recognized. We now know that they can reduce urban temperatures by 4°C (7°F); more urban canopy cover will be critical as temperatures climb as a result of global warming. Urban trees also absorb pollution of all kinds, particulate, chemical and noise; but their ability to do this depends upon their size.

Tree cutting is done due to three reasons
  1. Road re-alignment projects which seem to require completely unimpeded sight lines, despite the slow crawl of urban traffic.
  2. There are concerns about the hazards posed by "dangerous" trees.
  3. Increase in concrete jungle, i.e., huge increase in buildings, malls, concrete roads, flyovers, etc.
  • The effort should be one of retaining the trees, rather than reaching for the chainsaw at first sight of a "problem". There are ways of reducing risks other than felling.
  • Planting trees can beautify the highways. And try to hold existing trees as possible.
  • The tree's right to live should be recognized and it should be allowed to live until it is proved it cannot do so without a clear and demonstrable, quantifiable, danger.
  • Tree planting should be done in the surroundings of big societies, apartments, bungalows, thus, they should be maintained on regular basis.
  • Plant street trees in new locations, by willingness of public to contribute money for this purpose. Plant those that are not harmful.
  • Apply one tree, one family strategy so that the purpose of saving the environment can be a success.
It is high time we acted. You, me, and in fact all of us together. This is our planet. Let us work together to save it, and preserve it the way it should be for generations to follow. Preserve trees, save them, and plant more. That is the only way ahead.

Bottom line is that man should never challenge nature.