Trees are Our Best Friends

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Trees are our best friends. They are the type of friends, who give us everything they got and expect nothing in return. Unfortunately, we over abuse their generosity by our greediness, without much consideration of the repercussions of our actions. Our codependence with trees is actually one sided. We depend on trees, they do not depend on us. Trees have become part and parcel of our lives.

They are virtually everywhere, in schools, at work, at home, in industries, in hospitals and anywhere else you can think of, in their natural form as well as in their derivatives. So, what makes trees so important in our lives that we cannot live without them?

Social Benefits

Trees are homes to many birds and animals. Most birds make nests on trees, where they reside and lay eggs. Without trees, these lovely creatures would be stranded with nowhere to go. Most of the wild animals live in forests. The forests are their habitats, where they live, hunt, graze, procreate and raise their young ones.

Without forests, many of these animals would cease to exist, which would disrupt the nature of food chain. To us humans, trees create a serene environment, where we seek peace and calmness. They offer us a place we can run to whenever we feel overwhelmed with the urban life. Look at all the recreational parks around the world, they all have one thing in common- they all have trees.

Being near trees is therapeutically to us. Places with trees are naturally cool and quiet, because trees are known to reduce noise. They are therefore the perfect places for meditations and self-discovery.

Trees are also beautiful. They make our surroundings beautiful. During spring and autumn, some trees like Tulip tree, Cherry, Southern Magnolia, Golden Chain tree, Crape Myrtle and the Flowering dogwood blossom. They produce flowers of many colors and shapes creating wonderful sceneries.

Adding to the beauty of trees are the different species of birds, insects and rodents that produce sweet sounds and are a spectacle to watch on trees. When we plant them near our houses, they act as getaway locations for the kids to play. You can put tree swings for them to swing around or you can build a tree house for them to play in, if the tree is very large enough. Trees also produce natural sweet scents to our surroundings.

They are a source of delicacy for animals in the forests. Herbivorous animals, such as giraffes, elephants and zebras supplement their diets with tree leaves, young stems and twigs. Their fruits are a delicacy for birds, insects, monkeys and man. Trees usually come in handy during the dry season when plants, grass and shrubs have dried up.

Animals also use them as places of rest. Smaller or medium sized animals like chimpanzees, koalas and leopards basically reside on trees, while the larger ones like lions, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos use them as places of rest to shield them from the scorching heat. Furthermore, they are places where smaller animals seek refuge to keep themselves safe from impending attacks. Most predators cannot climb trees. They are also a form of playground for the monkey family.

Trees are also used in religious worship in some parts of the world, for instance in India. Tree worship is quite common in India and the adherents equate several gods with trees. For instance, Lord Vishnu is represented by the Peepal tree. It is also believed that Lord Buddha acquired his wisdom under the Peepal tree and therefore cutting it is forbidden. Neema tree represents Goddess Durga, while the coconut tree signifies Goddess Lakshmi.

Environmental Benefits

Trees are basically the guardians of our environment. First of all, they help moderate temperatures in the atmosphere by releasing moisture in the air. The moisture forms a shield of clouds that protect us against the excessive heat from the sun. Trees also facilitate hydrological cycle. They absorb water from the soil and release it in the atmosphere, which then falls back as rain.

This is the reason why places with many trees experience a lot of rainfall. They also act as windbreakers. Trees reduce speed and forces of winds, and as a result they save us from costs associated with wind related damages. They also reduce soil erosion caused by water runoff.

Tree are deeply rooted to the ground making soil hard, intact and impervious to running water. The leaves also help to distribute rainfall evenly in soil.

Trees also improve soil fertility. Dead foliage, fallen branches and barks from the trees are broken down, through the process of rotting to release nutrients to the soil. These nutrients are then absorbed by trees, plants and microorganisms in the soil in order to grow and be healthy.

The fallen foliage also reduces moisture loss from the soil by covering its surface and helps prevent weeds from sprouting. Furthermore, they help reduce dust, pollen and smoke particles in the air by trapping them on their barks and foliage. This is very helpful to people with respiratory problems.

Trees are also among the chief sources of oxygen in this planet.  They absorb carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases, such as ammonia, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide from the air, break them down to their constituent elements and release oxygen to the atmosphere. This reduces the greenhouse effect of these harmful gases.

However, we are witnessing the effects of increased global temperatures, because the forest cover on earth has reduced significantly over the years.

Economic Benefits

Trees are sources of food for both humans and animals. Each year, we eagerly wait for trees to give us fruits, nuts and berries. Aside from just eating them, we convert them to other products that are sold off both locally and internationally. Trees are also used as fuel. Although not very common in urban areas, trees are used for cooking and heating purposes in the country side.

In urban settings, most houses have fireplaces that act as alternative sources of heating for the house during the cold season or when there is no electricity to run the Air Conditioners. Furthermore, lumber is extensively used in industries. Most of the lumber used in industries is harvested from commercial or private farms. The people that plant, tend and harvest these trees are assured of consistent sources of income.

Apart from that, there are many people who enjoy regular income streams, working in different professions within the lumber industries. Timber is used in the manufacture of a large assortment of products that we use in our daily lives. One of them is paper. Paper is used in almost every facet of our lives.

Anywhere you can think of: schools, businesses, at home, in offices etc., there is always some usability of paper. In addition, timber is the most preferred material used in creation of all types of furniture that we use in daily lives. Trees also produce gums and resins, which have wide applicability in industries. For instance, Gum Arabica is used in the manufacture of gums and is also a great emulsifier in the production of soft drinks and low fat yoghurt. Resins are used in the manufacture of glue, varnish and sealants.

Tannins in oak trees are used to treat animal hides to form leather, which is then used to create a wide array of goods including shoes, belts and handbags. Tannins are also used in photography, as mordants or chemical binding agents in dyes and as stabilizers and clarifiers in wine and beer making. In the field of medicine, trees have been used to cure diseases for many generations.

Trees are still used today both in the pharmaceutical industry and as herbal medicine. For instance, the Alder tree is used to reduce fever. Its bark and leaves contain a fever-reducing compound known as salicin that is also used to treat hemorrhoids, relieve itches and helps prevent mastitis in women. Another good example is the Birch tree, which contains Betulinic Acid in its sap. It has antitumor properties and is extensively used in HIV and cancer treatment researches.

Trees are also heavily used in the construction industry. Shelters are being constructed primarily from wood. This is especially true in the US, where timber is the most widely used material for home construction because it is cheaper than brick and stone houses. Even in brick houses, you will always find wooden rooftops, doors, windows, closets and cabinets.

It is also a fact that trees make the property value of houses to rise. People are willing to pay more for houses with trees than the ones with none. This may actually be a good investment idea, if you are thinking of selling your house in the future.

Evidently, trees are very important and it is quite unlikely that we can survive without them. The problem is that trees are nonrenewable and its reserves can easily be replenished. If we want to keep this world sustainable and habitable for our future generations, then we should plant trees.

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