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Katelyn Decker

on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of Trees

By Katelyn Decker Trees What do trees do for us? Trees muffle urban noise almost as effectively as stone walls. Trees, planted at strategic points in a neighborhood or around your house, can abate major noises from freeways and airports. Flash flooding can be dramatically reduced by a forest or by planting trees. One Colorado blue spruce, either planted or growing wild, can intercept more than 1000 gallons of water annually when fully grown. Underground water-holding aquifers are recharged with this slowing down of water runoff. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. CO2 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect. Trees trap CO2 from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth. They give us oxygen in return. Trees are the lungs of the planet They provide air for us humans. According to ColoradoTree.org, about 800 million tons of carbon are stored in the trees that make up the urban forests of the U.S. This translates to a savings of $22 billion in control costs. Mature trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen to sustain two human beings. We hear a lot about our carbon footprint, but many people don’t realize that the carbon in this equation is carbon dioxide, or CO2. The same way humans breath oxygen and exhale CO2, trees breath in CO2 and exhale oxygen. This carbon dioxide becomes sugars that can then be eaten, burnt for fuel, or simply enjoyed in its leafy form. The dictionary definition of a tree is that it is a plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting leaves or branches. At the very beginning of our human experience, trees were considered sacred and honorable: oaks were worshiped by the European Druids, redwoods a part of American Indian ritual, baobabs a part of African tribal life, and to the Chinese the ginkgo. Romans and scholars during the Middle Ages venerated trees in their literature. Trees help things of nature Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls. The USDA reports that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 100,000 gallons! Additionally, trees shade asphalt and trees, reducing what is know as the “Heat Island” effect. The EPA has some great information on how planting trees and other vegetation can help to reduce the urban heat island effect.The term "heat island" describes built up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C). Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality. What are trees? Just being around trees makes you feel good. Can you imagine your community without trees? Trees, especially in urban areas, have numerous social benefits. For example, the addition of trees to a neighborhood or a business district can greatly improve the mental and physical health of residents and workers. In fact, the University of Cambridge did a study on job satisfaction of employees of business with a view of trees from their office. They found that these employees suffered from fewer diseases than workers without a view of trees. The term phytoremediation is a fancy word for the absorption of dangerous chemicals and other pollutants that have entered the soil. Trees can either store harmful pollutants or actually change the pollutant into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage and farm chemicals, reduce the effects of animal wastes, clean roadside spills and clean water runoff into streams. To produce its food, a tree absorbs and locks away carbon dioxide in the wood, roots and leaves. Carbon dioxide is a global warming suspect. A forest is a carbon storage area or a "sink" that can lock up as much carbon as it produces. This locking-up process "stores" carbon as wood and not as an available "greenhouse" gas. There are many types of trees: large and small, stout and slender, erect and weeping and evergreen and deciduous. Deciduous trees trees drop their leaves each autumn. Deciduous trees are sometimes called angiosperms, broadleaf trees, or hardwoods. Oaks, maples, and elms are deciduous trees. Deciduous Trees Coniferous trees are trees that produce seeds without fruits or nuts. Most coniferous trees bear seeds in cones, have needles instead of broad leaves, and keep their needles in winter. Coniferous trees are also called gymnosperms, evergreens, or softwoods. Spruces, firs, and pines are coniferous. Conifer Trees
Heartwood: dead xylem; stores food and supports the tree
Sapwood: tube like cells that move water and nutrients from roots to the rest of the tree
Cambium: layer that produces phloem and xylem
Phloem: tube like cells that move sugar (called sap) from leaves to the rest of the tree
Outer bark: dead phloem; protects the rest of the tree. Five Layers of Tree Bark Types and Parts of Trees A tree's trunk is like a highway. It transports water and nutrients from the soil to the leaves. It transports food in the form of sugars from the leaves to the rest of the tree. Trees help cleanse the air by intercepting airborne particles, reducing heat, and absorbing such pollutants as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Trees remove this air pollution by lowering air temperature, through respiration, and by retaining particulates. Erosion control has always started with tree and grass planting projects. Tree roots bind the soil and their leaves break the force of wind and rain on soil. Trees fight soil erosion, conserve rainwater and reduce water runoff and sediment deposit after storms. Trees reduce ozone levels. This effect is not just global, but local. In large cities, a reduction in ozone can mean milder temperatures and more breathable air. Trees provide an ecosystem for animals, insects, and other life. Trees are an important part of many ecosystems. They are not just part of the carbon cycle, but also a home and a food source for many critters. In fact, many animals have a preferred type of tree that they call home, which means every tree is a potential life-saver to certain species. During windy and cold seasons, trees located on the windward side act as windbreaks. A windbreak can lower home heating bills up to 30% and have a significant effect on reducing snow drifts. A reduction in wind can also reduce the drying effect on soil and vegetation behind the windbreak and help keep precious topsoil in place. Shade resulting in cooling is what a tree is best known for. Shade from trees reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. In winter, trees break the force of winter winds, lowering heating costs. Studies have shown that parts of cities without cooling shade from trees can literally be "heat islands" with temperatures as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than surrounding areas. Trees can reduce heating and air conditioning costs. There is a reason trees tend to be clustered around homes. Homeowners want them there, not just for their shady beauty, but for their effect on temperature. It is well known that trees can absorb summer heat. They also provide shade that can cool a house and yard substantially. In cooler months, trees provide a windbreak and trap heat. A difference of just degrees can save a lot of energy over the course of a year. Real estate values increase when trees beautify a property or neighborhood. Trees can increase the property value of your home by 15% or more. Trees trap dust and debris. Dust, smog, and other particles in the air collect on the leaves and tend to stick there. This creates generally cleaner air for people and animals to breath, which can be important for quality of life in both cities and dusty agricultural areas. As you can see, trees are an important part of keeping our environment healthy. Trees are truly a green part of our world, in more than just color. Humankind needs to wake up, not just to smell the roses but to realize trees are important too.
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