Can We Live Without Trees and How to Save Them
Without trees, we all die. Besides providing oxygen for us to breathe, trees make life on earth sustainable. Discover what is happening to the world’s trees and why we urgently need to stop senseless deforestation.
Trees affect everything from the air we breathe to the rain that falls from the sky. Without a robust population of trees, we die and so does our planet.
72tree.com gathered tree information, statistics, problems, and actions we can all take to preserve our trees and our habitable planet.
What Will Happen if We Cut Down All the Trees?
Right now, just over 3 trillion trees are growing on our planet. Every year, over 15 billion of those trees are felled or lost to natural disasters. At this rate, earth’s last tree will fall in roughly 200 years.
As earth’s tree population nears zero, the following will occur:
Oxygen and CO2 – Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Without them converting CO2 to oxygen, CO2 levels would begin to rise while oxygen levels would steadily fall.
Trees are responsible for 35% of the oxygen we breathe. The other 65% are produced by algae and phytoplankton in the oceans.
Flooding and Erosion – Without tree roots to absorb water and stabilize the soil, even the smallest of storms will result in significant flooding, topsoil erosion, and landslides.
Air and Soil Pollutants – Trees work nonstop to filter ammonia, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide from the air and soil.
Without trees, these pollutants would find their way into what crops are left and into the feed of what animals are left, not to mention the air we breathe.
Evapotranspiration – Without trees, the process of evapotranspiration would stop. This is the process of moistening the air which produces more clouds. Evapotranspiration is responsible for maintaining the delicate balance between fertile land and dry desolate desert.
Fewer clouds mean less rain. With less rainfall, fertile land would dry up, fresh water sources would run out or stagnate, and agriculture will begin to fail on a global scale.
Acid Rain – Without trees to remove pollutants, what little rainfall remains would be mostly acidic. All remaining plant life would be crippled.
Global Warming – As the earth’s temperatures rise, the polar ice-caps would melt at an accelerated rate, causing ocean levels to rise and inundate coastal lands and freshwater sources.
As witnessed primarily in the south pole, the ice caps are already receding at an alarming pace, and if this melting isn’t slowed or stopped, it could threaten the survival of all wildlife within that ecosystem.
As the ice melts and causes desalinization in the oceans, weather patterns are subject to erratic change. Off-season snow storms, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, and even blistering summers can all be driven by our raising global thermostat.
Labored Breathing – With CO2 levels on the rise and oxygen levels depleted, people with respiratory and blood problems would be the first to die along with animals unable to cope with the atmospheric changes.
Extinction – Small animals which once depended on trees for food and shelter would be the first to perish. Within a short period, the natural food chain would begin to lose its structure, leaving carnivorous scavengers to likely last the longest.
As temperatures continue to rise, the oxygen levels in the atmosphere decrease, and food sources become even more scarce, the food chain – in its entirety – would eventually break down, leaving every living creature on the planet on a collision coarse with extinction. Including mankind.
The timeline and events portrayed above are a representation of the first fifty to one hundred years without trees.
What Can We Do to Stop Deforestation?
You alone can make a tremendous impact on the future of our planet’s tree population. The following are ways that you can help stop deforestation:
Plant a Tree – Every tree you plant slows down the effects of deforestation. However, planting a tree isn’t enough. It is just as important to keep that tree healthy and resistant to disease and insect infestation.
Adding to the complexity of this situation is the process of natural deforestation. This is when beetles and other boring insects successfully attack large numbers of trees in either urban settings or forests. As these trees die, they dry out and become fuel for wildfires.
Besides annual inspections of your trees, whenever you detect the presence of an infestation or disease, call an arborist to assess the situation and offer a course of action.
you can discover more about tree health problems and solutions by visiting 72tree.com/9-common-tree-health-problems-solutions/
Go Paperless – Whenever possible, receive and pay bills online. With the technological advances we have at our fingertips, we are able to reduce the use of nearly all paper products drastically.
Recycle – For decades, companies and households of all sizes have been recycling. You can push this concept forward by only purchasing recycled paper products and by recycling yourself.
Look for Forest Stewardship Council Certification – This is known as FSC certification and can be found on wood, paper, and food products. Products with this certification are produced in sustainable ways and can be classified as follows:
• FSC 100% includes products that come from FSC-certified forests.
• FSC Recycled means the wood or paper within a product is sourced from reclaimed material.
• FSC Mixed means at least 70 percent of the wood in a product comes from FSC-certified or recycled material, and that 30 percent is made of controlled wood.
Eat Vegetarian – By eating vegetarian or vegan meals as often as possible, you are reducing the demand for livestock, thereby reducing the need for deforestation to graze the animals.
Teach Others about Sustainability – The most impactful thing you can do to save our trees and forests is to teach others how to live sustainably.
According to recent research, nearly half of the world’s trees have been lost over the past 12,000 years to agriculture and population growth, and at the rate trees are currently being cut down, they will be gone in 200 years unless we take action to prevent it.
What Can We Do to Save Trees
As mentioned above, planting a tree helps turn back the effects of deforestation, while saving trees is a bit different. To save a tree, you don’t necessarily need to travel to the forest and stand in the way of a bulldozer.
You can save trees every day by caring for the ones that surround you:
• Plant trees in their hardiness zone.
• Plant trees in locations where they can grow freely.
• Adjust soil conditions to match your trees’ needs.
• Prune your trees as it grows.
• Water your trees during dry weather.
• Learn to identify signs of disease and infestation.
• Schedule annual inspections by an arborist.
• When a tree becomes a hazard, have it removed.
That last bullet point may have confused you. There are times when tree diseases or infestations can pose a grave threat to the surrounding ecosystem. In such cases, removing the tree may be the only practical option to protect other trees.
Cutting Down Trees Affects Us and Our Environment
All living creatures including mankind need trees to breathe, eat, and live. Life on earth, at all levels, depends on the abundant existence of a healthy tree population.
In this article, you discovered important tree population information, statistics, problems, and actions we can take to care for our trees and keep our planet habitable.
Ignoring that there is a problem only allows the problem to flourish. If we are to preserve our planet, each of us must take action in some way to keep our trees healthy and rely less on the material possessions that encourage deforestation.
Signs of a Diseased Tree – Dieback, Tree Suckers & Water Sprouts
Many diverse diseases affect your landscape, shrubs and trees. Identifying these diseases is critical because, not all tree diseases can be controlled. We love to watch things grow when we garden but we must note that not all growth is positive or advantageous to the trees. Some of these growths take energy away from the tree; common examples include water sprouts and suckers. At 72tree.com we often see the damaging effects of tree disease, and in this article, dieback, tree suckers and water sprouts are the disorders we’ll be discussing.
Dieback of a Tree or Its Limbs
In spring as the weather gets warmer, and buds start noticeably leafing out, you might notice that a section or even an entire limb is not leafing out consistent with the rest of the tree. Dieback is a condition in which the ends of the tree branches die. These sections are generally located at the limb tips, but can also be entire limbs or sections of the tree where there will be no leaves. Most times, this is a sign that all is not right with the tree.
Water Sprouts Due to Branch Removal
Water sprouts are dynamic shoots that develop from dormant buds either on large branches or trunks of a tree. They are usually upright and in many cases occur as a result of the removal or trimming of large branches. Heavy pruning may also lead to the production of more sprouts. Tree stress may also result in water sprout growth, but it’s not usually as vibrant as those that occur due to pruning.
Trees should be checked regularly. If you notice new shoots, eliminate them by rubbing them off as they emerge. Large water sprouts can be pruned off close to the trees trunk. Water sprouts can ruin a tree’s shape and they also divert the tree’s energy by blocking air circulation and light. Though not advised, some allow sprouts to grow in the place of missing branches, but it may lead to a reduction in quality of the tree’s ability to bear more fruits. Also, water sprouts are more inclined to promote tears, disease and breaks, as they are generally weaker than other branches.
Suckers are un-planned, vegetative growths that stem from a tree’s root system. Suckers grow from rootstock and divert nutrients away from the trees top growth. There isn’t any actual benefit from letting suckers grow because, rootstocks are usually different from the type of tree that you planted (example – a Gala apple tree will not have a Gala apple rootstock).
To find and cut from the base of a sucker, you may have to pull back any ground cover and dig up some soil to fully expose the sucker. Ensure that as much growth as possible is removed to reduce the potential of them popping up again. If they do re-emerge, this simple process will have to be repeated. Although suckers and water sprouts are similar, remember suckers originate from the root or base of the tree.
Tree Disease Prevention and Care
You might be able to deal with a disease that occurs on your trees and shrubs but you ought to consider consulting a local arborist or tree service professional if you are uncertain. The arborist will identify any disease and offer you the best treatment options and the ideal time to care for the tree.
Early spring (during most maintenance pruning) is the best time to remove both water sprouts and tree suckers. However, these unwanted growths sometimes sprout and occur during the growing season, they should be removed as soon as you notice their existence. Your trees will thank you and be fruitful!