Did you know that the world loses 6,000 acres of trees every hour? That’s the size of about 4,000 football fields!
Forests today only cover 30% of the planet. However, that area is shrinking fast due to a growing global population and increased demand for fuel, food, and land.
Tropical rainforests like the Amazon are the most vulnerable to deforestation. In 2020 alone, 12 million hectares of tropical tree cover were lost.
Scientists predict that the earth’s rainforests might completely disappear in the next 100 years!
Sure, the numbers paint a grim picture of the future, but not all hope is lost. We can repair some of the damage we’ve done to our planet by planting trees and preserving existing ecosystems.
Why are trees so valuable?
It’s hard to overstate the value of trees. They’re vital for our survival and are constantly working to keep our planet healthy and functional.
Trees provide countless benefits that we often take for granted, but we don’t have to wait until it’s too late to appreciate them.
Here are some reasons why we should all love trees.
Mitigate climate change
Trees are carbon storage heroes, and they can slow down climate change thanks to photosynthesis. During the process, trees use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create oxygen and energy for growth.
When a tree reaches full maturity, it can absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year and almost a ton in its entire lifetime.
According to a study published in the journal Science, planting more than half a trillion trees could remove about 205 gigatons of carbon (1 billion metric tons), which would be enough to reverse nearly 20 years of carbon emissions.
Nevertheless, planting trees can never be a substitute for decreasing fossil fuel emissions, but it’s an effective tool to alleviate the current climate emergency.
Slow biodiversity loss
Forests are home to more than 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. As such, mass-clearing of forests has immense consequences for the flora and fauna that depend on them.
The World Animal Foundation says that we’re losing 137 species of plants, animals, and insects every day to deforestation. Even well-known species like the koala, jaguar, orangutan, Sumatran rhino, red panda, and mountain gorilla are at the brink of extinction.
Besides increasing protected forest areas, we should also plant trees to restore forest cover and stop the rapid species extinction.
Purify the air
If you’re part of the 55% of the global population that lives in cities, then you know air pollution is a serious problem. Research shows that toxic emissions stemming from car emissions and industrial plants kill seven million people every year. They may also cause long-term damage to people’s nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs.
Luckily, trees are a natural remedy for pollution.
Trees act as air purification systems by absorbing particles and toxic gases such as nitrogen oxide, ammonia, and sulfur dioxide from the air, trapping them on their leaves and bark. In return, trees release fresh oxygen back into the air for us to breathe.
Thus, trees improve the air quality and contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment.
Trees protect our water quality with their unique evolutionary design. When the rain falls, the canopy of leaves and branches intercept the water and channel it to the roots. These roots have a vast network on the ground that then absorb the water and remove both nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) and contaminants before gradually releasing water back into streams and rivers.
Roots also help stabilize the soil around the tree, preventing soil erosion leading to landslides, reducing stormwater runoff and flood damage.
A 100-foot tree can intercept as much as 11,000 gallons of rainfall per year. Imagine what billions of trees can do!
Planting trees in our communities reward us in so many ways.
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide depend on forests for income from sourcing food, construction materials, and medicinal ingredients.
Planting more trees through community-led programs can provide sustainable livelihoods and promote equity in forest land management.
But trees are not only profitable, but they also come with health and social perks.
Mental and physical health
Numerous studies exploring the benefits of spending time around trees show significant positive effects on the mental and physical wellbeing of individuals and communities.
The mere presence of trees can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve mood. It can also increase attention in adults and children with ADHD and accelerate recovery from surgery or illness.
Should I support as many tree-planting projects as possible? No.
The benefits of trees paint a clear picture of why we should plant trees. What could go wrong? On the surface, reforestation seems like a simple solution, but it’s a little more complicated than it looks. Not all tree campaigns are created equal.
Some tree planting campaigns do more harm than good.
When planting trees is worse
Poorly designed tree-planting campaigns could backfire and make things worse, and a recent study from Stanford University corroborated this.
It examined the results of a mass tree-planting campaign in Chile that ran from 1974 to 2012. The Chilean government subsidized 75% of the reforestation costs, but the landowners replaced native forests with more lucrative commercial tree plantations due to lax enforcement and budget constraints. This expanded tree coverage but also removed native forests. The removal of native forests resulted in biodiversity loss and little to no effect on carbon sequestration.
Read more about how tree-planting campaigns can do more harm than good.
Why One Tree Planted?
One Tree Planted works with local communities and experts to create a lasting impact on the climate, people, and wildlife.
They ensure that all trees planted are native species for each location and have robust monitoring systems to guarantee their long-term survival.
Buy one, plant five trees
Melomys is committed to living a positive mark on the earth. We do this through activism, education, and a business model that gives back. With the help of our friends One Tree Planted, we will plant five trees for every purchase! We aim to plant 1 million trees by 2025 and continually strive for a circular supply chain.
We believe in the power of activism, and that’s why we are asking you to lower your carbon footprint, get involved in your community, and push for environmental legislation.
Together, we can heal degraded habitats, fight climate change and improve lives all around the world.