12 Reasons to Plant a Tree

The benefits of trees

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, approximately 12 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. And this deforestation, together with agriculture and other land-use changes, is responsible for roughly 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
We can all play a part in reversing this trend by planting trees individually or as part of a collective. For example, Trees for Life is a national charity committed to inspiring, funding and mobilizing community-led tree-planting initiatives across Canada. And not just any trees — the organization is committed to planting resilient native trees and shrubs to support local biodiversity and ecosystems. Our birds and pollinators depend on native species for their food and shelter.

According to Tree Canada, a tree that lives to 100 years old in a typical Canadian forest can sequester anywhere between 370 and 460 kg of CO2 over its lifetime. To put that into perspective, that is the same amount of carbon emitted from an 850 km drive in a compact car. 

  • Trees produce oxygen. One large tree, like a maple or an oak, can provide a day’s oxygen supply for up to four people.
  • Trees filter pollutants and absorb carbon dioxide. 
  • Trees help save energy by providing shade to cool our homes in the summer and shelter them from cold in the winter.
  • Trees cool our cities and our playgrounds by providing shade and helping to reduce the amount of heat absorbed by materials like concrete and asphalt.
  • Trees hold soil in place. Tree roots grow deep into the soil, keeping it firmly in place to prevent erosion and slow stormwater runoff.
  • Trees feed us with fruit and nuts, like apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, chestnuts and walnuts.
  • Trees boost our mental health. Being surrounded by trees and green spaces makes us feel better.
  • Trees reduce noise pollution by absorbing and deflecting sound energy.
  • Trees make stronger communities. Standing tall and immobile, they are a focal point in our neighbourhoods and our memories.
  • Trees mark a moment in time. The patterns and size of the rings inside the trunk tell the tree’s age and provide a record of the year-to-year fluctuations in their growth, containing a weather history at the tree’s location. 
  • Trees are beautiful! All trees are remarkable, and trees that flower in the spring, like magnolia, cherry and redbud, are some of the most beautiful specimens we see all year for those of us fortunate to live in a zone where they can thrive.
  • Trees are gifts for the future. Just as we can offer and pass on the wealth of our knowledge as we age, so too does a growing tree in terms of the benefits it can provide.

Mark Cullen is the President Trees For Life. Find more information at www.treesforlife.ca.

Mark Cullen
Mark Cullen

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster and tree advocate and is a member of the Order of Canada.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 26th, 2023
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