Masters of Health Magazine April 2019 - Page 36

What You Need to Know

About Trees and

Why We Need

to Protect Them

A message from our president, Kathleen Rogers:

On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to

protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial

development.

In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and

evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in

children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of

pesticides and other pollutants.

The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.

What is Earth Day, and what is it meant to accomplish?

Earth Day 2019 -

Protect Our

Species

“In nature, nothing exists alone.”

— Rachel Carson, 1962

Facts about Trees

*There are an estimated 60,000 different species of trees.

Trees date back nearly 350 million years, and the world’s oldest recorded tree — over 9,500 years-old — was discovered in Sweden.

Trees are as varied and diverse from the fruit they grow, the colors of their leaves, and their shape and height. Bonsai trees can measure less than one foot high, while the redwood trees in California measure a height of over 300 feet.

Globally, trees occupy approximately 30.6% of the Earth’s land area, down from 31.6% in 1990.[4] From 2015 to 2016, the world lost 73.4 million acres of trees, a 51% increase from the year before.

Human activity continues to be the single largest cause of deforestation, with commodity-driven deforestation totaling around 27%.

For an in-depth and interactive look at changes in forests worldwide, check out this map to see the changes of forests in your community.

Why We Need to Protect Trees

Role in the Ecosystem: Trees play a central role in the ecosystems of forests and other species. Forests play a vital role in storing and releasing carbon from the atmosphere and they help to regulate and maintain Earth’s carbon balance.

Trees also help maintain nutrient-rich soil for other plants to grow, provide shelter and habitat for animals, and contribute significantly to the global water cycle.

Ecosystem Services: One of the most significant services that trees provide is the sequestration of carbon, which helps keep the air clean and nearby temperatures at a healthy level.