Thursday, 12 April 2012

Greening of the Season, Greening of the Landscape: the Importance of Trees

We're almost to the point when the trees will leaf out, two weeks or more ahead of usual. The importance of trees has been unlined this week in two stories in The New York Times.

One is a hymn to a new vertical green wall in Mexico City, which is supposed to cut down on pollution. Sounds pretty and perhaps effective, but as one of the comments noted, trees are the best vertical green things

The other, published two days later, is called "Why Trees Matter," and details the positive benefits of trees. A few you may not know about include: decomposing leaves that leach acids in to the ocean, fertilizing plankton. " When plankton thrive, so does the rest of the food chain. In a campaign called Forests Are Lovers of the Sea, fishermen have replanted forests along coasts and rivers to bring back fish and oyster stocks. And they have returned"

Then there is the way trees filter water. They are "capable of cleaning up the most toxic wastes, including explosives, solvents and organic wastes, largely through a dense community of microbes around the tree’s roots that clean water in exchange for nutrients, a process known as phytoremediation."

But many trees are in trouble, partly because of heat and drought, just as their benefits become more needed.

The story ends with this proverb; “When is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer: “Twenty years ago. The second-best time? Today.”

All right. Haven't got much room left for trees in our little yard, but I think we'll plant a cedar hedge instead of replacing a fence between us and the neighbors. Excuse me while I do a little Googling in preparation for gardening.

No comments: