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Trees as Environmental Champions

By Ojugbele Omotunde

Each tree, originating from diverse landscapes—tropical rainforests, northern temperate forests, African plains, or even urban spaces like those in Scotland—is critical in civilisation’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Trees contribute to improved air quality, water management, and carbon sequestration.

Trees continually bestow benefits upon society, addressing climate change impacts and offering additional advantages.

They provide unique habitats for animals and insects, enhancing biodiversity and potentially serving as local food sources.

Local trees offer numerous environmental services and public benefits.

Moreover, trees fulfil social and cultural roles, often forming the centrepiece of rituals.

Examples of Tree Contributions:

Climate Change Mitigation: Trees act as natural air purifiers, absorbing carbon dioxide—the primary greenhouse gas—via photosynthesis. A mature tree can absorb an average of 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, significantly contributing to climate stabilisation.

Habitat Creation: Trees are vital homes for diverse plant and animal species, providing food, cover, and nesting sites for birds, animals, and insects, supporting biodiversity and species survival.

Water Management: Trees effectively manage water by absorbing precipitation, reducing flood risks, and preventing soil erosion. They also act as natural filters, improving water quality by capturing debris and impurities.

Soil Fertility: Trees enrich the soil as their leaves decompose, providing organic matter and nutrients that enhance microbial activity. Tree roots stabilise soil, preventing erosion and preserving soil fertility.

Urban Heat Mitigation: Trees play a critical role in cooling urban areas, reducing the heat island effect, and decreasing the need for excessive air conditioning, promoting more sustainable and comfortable cities.

Health and Wellbeing: Spending time in tree-filled natural settings has proven benefits for mental and physical health, reducing stress and improving overall wellbeing. Trees also contribute to cleaner air by filtering out air pollutants.

Trees are unsung heroes of our environment, providing invaluable services and benefits that are essential for both nature and society. Protecting and planting trees is not just an environmental effort—it’s an investment in a healthier, more resilient future for all.


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