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ARBOR week is celebrated in the first week of September every year, to raise awareness of trees species, that are threatened by extinction and the need to plant and maintain indigenous trees throughout South Africa.

Planting a tree, even one, makes a huge difference. Trees give us life as they provide us with a healthier living environment.

 

WHY ARE TREES IMPORTANT TO THE ENVIRONMENT?

Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide shelter and a home  to over 80% of the world's living species.

Here are the six pillars that explain why trees are vital:


AIR

Trees help to clean the air we breathe. Through their leaves and bark, they absorb harmful pollutants and release clean oxygen for us to breathe. In urban environments, trees absorb poisonous pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ozone, and carbon monoxide, and sweep up particles like dust and smoke. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide caused by deforestation and fossil fuel combustion trap heat in the atmosphere. Healthy, strong trees act as carbon sinks, offset carbon and reducing the effects of climate change

WATER

Trees play a key role in capturing rainwater and reducing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides. Their intricate root systems act like filters, removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the soil. This process prevents harmful waterslide erosion and reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding.


BIODIVERSITY

A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitat. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home. Forests also help to provide jobs to millions of people all over the world. They absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines. Have you ever taken an Aspirin? It comes from the bark of a tree!

SOCIAL IMPACT

From arborists to loggers and researchers, the job opportunities provided by the forestry industry are endless. We don’t just rely on trees for work, though. Sustainable tree farming provides timber to build homes and shelters, and wood to burn for cooking and heating. Food-producing trees provide fruit, nuts, berries, and leaves for consumption by both humans and animals, and pack a powerful nutritional punch. 

HEALTH

Did you know that hospital patients with rooms overlooking trees recover faster than those without the same view? Trees help reduce stress and anxiety, and allow us to reconnect with nature. In addition, shade provided by tree coverage helps protect our skin from the ever-increasing harshness of the sun. 

CLIMATE

Trees help cool the planet by sucking in and storing harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into their trunks, branches, and leaves — and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. In cities, pollution and overheating are becoming a real threat. Fortunately, a mature tree can absorb an average of 22 kg of carbon dioxide per year, making cities a healthier, safer place to live. 

 

So arbor day helps remind us the importance of trees in our world. Let’s do our bit to save our planet our future generations.

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