We plant 2 trees for every solar stove sold. Of all actions we could take, why trees?
Sequestering CO2 aside, trees have a number of not so obvious functions that make them perhaps the single most powerful force for combating climate change and improving the lives of those in the world who live with the least. Having planted more than 40,000 trees to date in collaboration with Trees For The Future, we would like to share with you a few reasons why trees are a big deal.
1. Trees create rainfall.
Yes, you read that right. By capturing water and releasing moisture, trees can create rainfall in some cases just a few miles from their location.
2. Trees stop soil erosion and desertification.
Unprotected Earth will quickly deteriorate in the Sun, loosing it's fertility and biological diversity. This often times translates to hunger, scarcity and conflict. Beyond protection, Trees and their network of roots hold the soil together, especially on hillsides.
3. Trees create drinking water.
By acting as a biological sponge, trees can store water in the soil and protect it from the sun as it seeps into the water table. This in turn means that water wells remain full, keeping people nourished and crops healthy.
4. Trees cool their environment
Through the process of evapotranspiration, trees can cool a localized area by as much at 10°F! Plant trees next to a house and one can save massively on Summer cooling bills.
5. Trees can provide food and resources
Beyond making water and stability, trees can also produce an income, providing fruit, nuts and timber.
6. Trees provide habitat for endangered species
Though it is not often acknowledged, we are currently in the edge of another great extinction event, with an extinction rate more than 100x higher than normal. Saving precious habitat is a priority, but when the damage has already been done, planting new trees can can provide some relief for species under pressure.
7. Trees Sequester (a lot of) Carbon
While massive companies are searching for methods of storing CO2 underground, trees require almost no capital, minimal maintenance and convert the CO2 into useful by-products like... soil and food.
More Facts About Trees:
- Trees first evolved about 400 Million years ago.
- Hardwoods evolved about 95 Million years ago
- Palm Trees were the last to evolve at 70 Million years ago
- In a healthy forest trees will fuse their roots together or connect to each other through Mycorrhiza which connect trees roots with other trees roots. This creates a large resource sharing network that support each other through thick and thin. Mature forests are very much a community, dependent on all the parts to make up the whole
A Film by Dan McKinney & Julia Dordel.
Video from KarmaTube
- Forests create their own rain cycles through stabilizing the hydrological cycle They achieve this by:
- Building Soil: Soil holds more moisture than dead dirt which is created by trees and plants and their support of soil microbiology and fungi. It is these microscopic guys that create the humus to increase is Carbon capacity, (we'll come back to this later). Soil with every increase of 1% Soil Carbon can hold an extra 16,500 gallons of water per acre or 1.5 Liters per cubic foot of soil!
- Hydrating the Air: A large tree can pump 100-200 gallons of water into the atmosphere everyday
- Temperature: They can reduce surface temperatures by 10 degrees Fahrenheit
- Forests are serious storage tanks of Carbon, which can play a pivotal roll in climate change.
- It is now believed that up to 1/3 of the current greenhouse gases have come from deforestation.
- There is over 3 Trillion tons of carbon currently in storage in Soil and Plants
- There is only 800 Billion tons of carbon in the atmosphere currently
- The worlds cultivated soils have lost 50-70% of their original carbon stock
- It is now speculated that we could reverse climate change by sequestering the carbon in the soil, of which trees can play a critical role.
- Trees stabilize and build soils, ensuring their productivity for generations to come.
- Trees properly planted around your home can reduce cooling bills by 30% and your heating bills by 20-50%
- The tallest tree in the world, a Giant Redwood is as tall as a 27 story building!
- The oldest trees on earth easily top 4,000 years old
Whether it’s cooling the surface temperature of the earth, pulling the greenhouse gas CO2 out of the atmosphere, or enhancing clouds and rainfall through stabilizing the hydrological cycle, trees play a critical role for stabilizing the climate for all living beings.
(Thanks to Trees For The Future for the beautiful photography in this post.)