Trees and forests are a fundamental component of the biodiversity that provides the foundation of earth’s living ecosystems. Forests provide habitats for more than half of the world’s plant, mammal, insect and bird species. Trees are essential to the production of breathable air, drinkable water, fertile soils and a stable climate. Trees contribute to the emotional and psychological well being of humans.
To celebrate Arbor Day, The Ecology Global Network offers the following selection of articles and videos to inspire you to plant or hug a tree.
When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and seeds of hope
– Wangari Maathai
This lovely video, narrated by Michael York, features trees of the fine public gardens and parks in Paris, two grand individual specimens sheltered in the valley of the River Test in England, and a poem The Heart of the Tree, by Henry Cuyler Bunner.
Forests are essential to our survival and well-being. Forests clean our air, our water, our soil and they regulate our climate, amongst many other things. Trees and forests are not always associated with urban landscapes. However, there too they provide invaluable, often invisible, services. Simply by acting as ‘green oasis’ in our concrete jungles, they offer recreation and health services for many citizens.
Swedish forests grow by a total of 110 million cubic metres a year, and the net reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as a result of Swedish forestry and wood production, is 60 million metric tons a year.
This is equivalent to the entire carbon dioxide emissions for the whole of the country.
A thousand years ago most of Europe was covered by original forest like the Bialowieza National Park in Poland. Now this forest is reduced in size and is likely to disappear because of climate change. Park Warden Mateusz Szymura says, “Only here you can see an eco system, which functions without human touch.” Experience the magic, the wild bison, and the microlife in this unique pocket of Europe.
In 1988, the government of Nordrhein Westfallen, Germany, started the process of converting an old mining area into wild urban forest. This urban forest and use of what was once considered desolate and unusable land, is a great example for other cities and areas to emulate. Closed down mines and industrial sites can be rehabilitated to provide much-needed open space for city dwellers.