More and more, we’re turning to new technologies to help us tackle the environmental crisis. But the irony is that the perfect tech already exists, and has done for millions of years, right under our noses - trees.
You might not know by looking at them, but trees are champions when it comes to multitasking. Sadly, many people don’t know about all the amazing things trees do for us every day.
They produce oxygen, are good for our brains and give us shade, shelter, nutritious foods and life-saving medicines.
Trees are our allies in the fight against climate change and provide homes for iconic wildlife like koalas and cockatoos.
What can’t trees do? Nothing, it would seem. Here are five reasons we need trees and how they help us on a daily basis.
1. Trees help fight climate change
Acting as the lungs of the planet, through the process of photosynthesis, trees pull carbon out of the air, store it and replace it with oxygen. In fact, it’s estimated that Australian forests store 22 billion tonnes of carbon within their trunks, roots and the surrounding soil. Just four trees can store the equivalent carbon as a car produces in an entire year.
The storage of carbon helps to lower CO² emissions in the atmosphere and slow global heating, lessening the impacts of rising temperatures and disasters like bushfires and floods.
2. Trees clean our air
As well as producing the oxygen we breathe, trees also help to purify our air by removing fine particles and pollutants. So next time you take a big, deep breath of fresh air, remember to spare a thought for trees.
3. Trees help stabilise our Earth and its systems
Ever wonder why the air can get so misty over forests? Trees form an important part of the weather cycle. It’s estimated that 40% of rainfall over land happens because of water vapour that is released back into the atmosphere by trees.
As they grow, trees also drive their roots deep into the ground, helping to stabilise the dirt around them, stopping soil erosion and reducing the impacts of landslides and flooding.
4. Trees are good for our physical health and mental well-being
As well as providing us with shelter and shade and growing many of the foods and medicines we need to live, trees have also been found to purify our water and protect us from heat and infectious diseases.
They are also proven to be good for our mental health. Spending time amongst trees and nature has been proven to help boost our mood and reduce depression and anxiety. So much so that doctors in countries like Japan are prescribing time in nature for patients with stress-related illnesses.
We’ve partnered with Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) on a joint report which highlights some of these benefits and why it’s so important for our health to have access to trees and green spaces. Read the report here.
5. Trees provide homes for wildlife
Many of our iconic animals, like koalas, possums, fruit bats and birds, eat different parts of trees as part of their diets. They also use trees and forests for shelter by building their homes in branches and tree hollows.
It’s estimated that over 700 threatened animal species across Australia depend in some way on forests.
Just another reason why we need to conserve as many trees as possible.
Our communities, well-being, wildlife and planet - we all need trees to survive. Find out more about the benefits of trees and how you can help us save them.