The new guestimate is that there are over 3 trillion trees on Earth. You think they counted them all? Who would fund that kind of project? Granted this is far better than 400 billion trees left standing, but it’s really nothing to get overly excited about. It’s not enough trees, and very few of them are old growth specimens. They’re young and stunted in many cases, because between the paper, lumber, and agriculture industries most of the original forests and jungles on this planet are gone. It’s a rare thing to find a virgin tree with a trunk girth of incredible proportions, and a life-giving canopy of foliage that is so wide it could make a house look like a shed from the air.
But lets get rid of the blinders, people. You can’t just blame a handful of industries for stripping all the trees off our planet. What do you suppose stood where your city or subdivision is in the past? If you’re sitting in the northern half of the United States up into Canada, or down the East Coast – it was a forest as thick as a jungle. The trees were stripped from Ireland too. You can’t go anywhere in the world except a desert and not be in a place that was once thickly tree covered.
They cleared forests for trails that got widened into roads, and then came the super highways. Railways, gas lines, electrical, cable, and other utilities have all claimed the lives of their share of trees too. In the earlier days of populating North America they built with wood more so than we do today, but 100 or more years ago there were way less people, way less houses, and a lot less city – no matter where you live. There certainly weren’t any premier subdivisions where the developer arrives, clear cuts anything standing in his way of completing his project, burns it on the spot, and then scrapes off all the topsoil, and sells it off. They may not practice quite this drastically today, but from the 1950s through the 1990s this was just getting the job done.
Then to sell said homes new topsoil had to be brought in to support landscaping and lawns, which came from some not too distant location. This foreign soil topping existing soil creates an imbalanced environment for root systems to live in… the new trees have a layer of alien soil on top of the natural substrate. And the trees aren’t native to that place. How do you think they deal with this? Anything that man can capture and move he will sell, and transport as far as he can get away with it. So lots of newer trees have a really hard time thriving, let alone generating enough mass to do what a tree was designed to do. Clean the air, sequester greenhouse gases, help the soil retain moisture, feed the wildlife, replenish the soil under it, and take the heat out of a hot day.
And then we have free trade. Wooden crates and pallets, shipping containers, and imported natural materials that can carry pests and diseases are moved across country, across borders, and around the world. Enter undetected exotic pests and diseases that have taken up residence where no predator exists to control it. There is now a pest or disease that will attack just about any type of tree, and sticking with man’s monocropping mentality, streets and avenues are lined on both sides with the same type of tree for esthetic values. Trees planted in the wrong type of soil to deal with life naturally, over-watered and under-watered, already struggling, and generally left to get tough or die. The nurseries, after all, have a lot more you can buy to replace the ones that didn’t make it. BUT these trees don’t have enough canopy to benefit life forms on Earth, the soil, groundwater resources, or the air.
Next we have airborne chemicals, pesticides, and acid rain. None this is helping trees that stand today live long or battle pests and diseases. How much glyphosate-laced rain exposure do you suppose a forest can experience and remain alive? What about the amount they’re absorbing from streams, rivers and groundwater fed by the millions of miles of half-life weed killer coursing across the land?
The ecological scientists say that this 3 trillion trees we have today is only 46% of what was once standing on Earth. But, they certainly weren’t alive several hundred years ago before the land was pillaged as man saw fit to suit his own desires. No, they had no idea the havoc this would create with the environment. How could they? But the world has known that trees clean the air for many years, and that the loss of too many of them will cause devastation.
Plant trees. Make sure they will thrive in your soil before selecting them. Provide the proper amount of water for them to really prosper. Even if you’ve got large trees – give them some water when it’s dry. Struggling trees won’t save the Earth. Its really not doing much to counteract the deforestation problem. Diseased forests aren’t helping to stop climate change to the extent that healthy forests would either.
Stop pointing fingers, and change what you’re doing, what your community and even your company is doing. Because there will only be tomorrow as long as there are trees, lots of trees, anywhere trees can grow. Cut back on the amount of paper products you use. A lot of our tree usage is silly, if not downright wasteful. Especially the nonsense types – like paper guest towels, greeting cards, and wrapping paper. A phone call is worth more than a Christmas card. Fancy wrapping paper? Get creative… reuse it. Embrace digital.
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Man is his own worst enemy.
Be a good human and take better care of that which makes your life possible.
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