From the air to the ground, trees play a part in our environment. Keep reading as conservation expert Phillip Elden extols the benefits of the plant you likely see every day but don’t think about.
Q: Why are trees so important?
Phillip Elden: Trees play dozens of roles. They help animals, people, and the land in some surprising ways. First, and perhaps most well-known, is that trees help reduce climate change. They absorb CO2 and then release oxygen into the air. It’s estimated that a single acre of mature trees can offset the effects of driving 26,000 miles. CO2 is not the only airborne contaminant that trees combat. Their leaves are also effective at reducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, and ammonia from the air.
If the word raptor conjures up images of an attack from above, you have a good idea of what this class of predator is. According to environmentalist Phillip Elden, a raptor is simply a bird of prey that hunts during the day.
A bird of prey is an animal that hunts for dinner while flying through the air. They have vision that far surpasses regular flying animals and can easily spot their next meal while moving at great speeds hundreds of feet away. Raptors, like all birds of prey, have the best naturally-occurring eyesight with unparalleled ability to focus on moving prey. Further, their depth perception is unmatched.
Trees are something that we take for granted, says conservationist Phillip Elden. However, deforestation in the name of “progress” means that the United States is losing thousands of these valuable resources every day. Anyone concerned about the loss of green space has the power to make a difference by planting a single tree.
According to Phillip Elden, each new tree that is planted provides many services to both people and the environment. First, Elden explains, trees help filter the air. Next, trees, of all shapes and sizes, serve as a habitat for small mammals and insects.
How to plant a tree
Phillip Elden reports that it is not difficult to successfully plant a tree, even one that has been wrapped in burlap and is missing part of its root system. He explains that site preparation is imperative.
Oregon is known for its diverse flora and fauna. But what makes this range of plant and animal life possible? According to conservationist Phillip Elden, it is, at least in part, due to the temperate climate of the region. There are four distinct seasons in Oregon but none of them are extreme.
Spring is the wet season, says Phillip Elden. But contrary to how the state is depicted in the media, it doesn’t rain every day. Instead, Oregon has warm weather with many days full of sunshine. Showers are common but often clear out by noon, leaving plenty of sun to help the colorful trees of the season bloom.
From July through September, Oregon is warmer, sometimes hitting 100 degrees. Phillip Elden notes that humidity is reasonable and rarely jumps higher than 60 percent. The best part about summer in the state is the long days. Darkness doesn’t fall until well after 9:30 and June can stay daylight until after 10PM.
In 2016, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife created residential dock guidelines for homeowners with waterfront property. According to Phillip Elden, the guidelines have the express intent of protecting Oregon’s diverse aquatic wildlife. Here, Elden shares information about them.
Q: What is the purpose behind the residential dock guidelines?
Phillip Elden: The new rules were put into place to protect fish habitats and reduce predation of local species. According to some studies, man-made structures, including ramps, boathouses, and docks, alter fish behavior and have a negative impact on natural habitats. As residential developments continue to thrive, the state found it necessary to enact regulations to protect endangered species.
Unlike domestic dogs, wolves have yet to acclimate to humans. But, conservationist Phillip Elden says that’s okay. Wolves are one of his favorite animals, and one he believes deserves everyone’s attention and respect. Keep reading as the Oregon native answers a few questions about this colossal canine.
Q: How many different types of wolves are there?
Phillip Elden: There are two known species of wolves in the world. However, there are many subspecies, and it can be difficult to differentiate one from another. Many scientists believe that there are even more wolves tucked away in remote regions and that some may be misclassified as jackals or other canine-like mammals.
Q: What is the difference between a gray wolf and a red wolf?
Phillip Elden: Gray wolves are large and are what you typically think of when you think of a wolf. A red wolf is closer to the size of a coyote and may be brown with a reddish tint.
Throughout Oregon, we enjoy an abundance of rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. But how much do we really know about these ever-connected aquatic veins, which meander throughout much of the West Coast. Here, Phillip Elden answers a few common questions on rivers.
Q: What do all rivers and streams have in common?
Phillip Elden: While no two rivers look exactly alike, they are all similar in that they begin high. The high point of a running body of water can be found in an elevated area such as a mountain or hill. Rivers often begin as snowmelt, or are initiated by a natural spring. Small streams almost always find their way to one another to become larger rivers and rivers always find their way to a larger body of water, such as a lake or ocean.