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.
Q: How do trees affect local temperature?
Phillip Elden: The canopy of trees serves as a natural shade. In areas like Los Angeles, where development has reduced tree coverage by an alarming amount, average temperatures continue to climb. On the other end of this, a city full of mature trees can be 10° cooler during the hottest part of the summer.
Q: Do trees affect the water?
Phillip Elden: Absolutely. First, they help reduce soil erosion, which can keep pollution and contaminants out of rivers and streams. They also stop these intruders from entering lakes and other bodies of water by halting runoff and acting as a rainwater break.
Q: What is the most interesting fact about trees that people don’t know?
Phillip Elden: There are many things people should know about trees of all types. However, one that I think is most overlooked is the trees can actually change emotions – and help people heal from physical issues. It has been proven that areas with little greenspace are at a greater risk of violence than those with many parks and recreation areas. Further, children who show symptoms of ADHD tend to have less of a mental fog and can channel their energy more positively when surrounded by nature.