Forests are important for a multitude of reasons not the least of which is their capacity to combat climate change. The theme behind Earth Day celebrations in 2016 is “Trees for the Earth.” The organizers at the Earth Day Network are asking for help to achieve their ambitious goal of planting 7.8 billion trees. Over the next five years each successive Earth Day will focus on a different action theme counting down to the 50th anniversary of the iconic event. The purpose is to foster interest around actions that, “have a significant and measurable impact on the Earth.”
We have known for some time that trees are important to life on the planet. Tees help combat climate change by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Two acres of mature trees can absorb the same amount of CO2 as the average car produces every year.
Trees not only provide clean air to breathe, they contribute to our psychological and societal well being. Trees provide jobs and contribute to the economy. The relationship between forests and weather is also increasingly well understood and it has been shown that deforestation in the tropics causing diminished rainfall.
While trees combat climate change they are also the victims of both a warmer world and human activities. The importance of trees came into sharper focus last year with the dramatic destruction of massive swaths of forests in Indonesia.
Forests are being decimated all around the world but there are some novel approaches to large scale tree planting that suggest our forests can be reborn.