Did you know? A single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants per year. The average healthy, mature tree produces roughly 260 pounds of oxygen annually. The average person consumes 386 pounds of oxygen per year. Two trees provide enough oxygen for one person per year. Chicago’s urban forest (more than 3.5 million trees) removes about 888 tons of air pollution per year.
Forests are complex ecosystems in which plants and animals coexist with one another. Trees are the dominant species in forest ecosystems and are important to maintaining a healthy planet. As the Earth’s great air conditioners, trees rid the air of excess carbon dioxide and other pollutants to improve air quality. Their shade cools the air in summer, and they also filter water, trap particles to make soil and help regulate climate patterns around the world. It is important to understand that in both rural and urban areas, trees provide valuable services that have a direct impact on our lives.
For centuries forests have been a source of food, fibre, livelihoods, resources and water. They are also central to combating climate change, but until today, and despite a multitude of special days honouring or commemorating key elements of human life, there has never been a globally recognized day for paying homage to the world’s forests.
That has changed now that the United Nations General Assembly has designated 21 March as the International Day of Forests “to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests”.
This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Forest Facts in USA:
More than half of the country’s drinking water originates in forests. Approximately 180 million people depend on forests for their drinking water. Seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. About 2.5 percent of the Earth’s water is freshwater.
A single front-yard tree can intercept 760 gallons of rainwater in its crown, reducing runoff and flooding on your property.
Forests are the largest forms of carbon storage, or sinks, in the United States. Currently, plants absorb and store about 15 percent of the United States’ total carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation and energy sectors.
One mature tree absorbs CO2 at the rate of 48 pounds per year.
Over a year, an acre of forest can consume the amount of CO2 created by driving a car 26,000 miles, about twice the annual mileage for an average driver.
Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and save 20-50 percent in energy used for heating.
The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
A mature tree can reduce peak summer temperatures by 2° to 9° Fahrenheit.
100 million mature trees growing around residences in the U.S. can save about $2 billion annually in energy costs.
Around 80 percent of the population in the lower 48 states lives in urban areas.
Nationally, urban forests are estimated to contain about 3.8 billion trees, with an estimated structural asset value of $ 2.4 trillion.
Urban trees in the lower U.S. currently store 770 million tons of carbon.
Jobs are needed to plan, create and maintain urban forests. Urban forests can provide tens of thousands of new jobs as arborists and urban foresters and in landscape design, development and maintenance.
Lodgepole pines need the heat produced by wildfires to crack their cones open and release seeds for germination. Without this degree of heat, lodgepole pines would not be able to reproduce.
From 2001 to 2012, on average, seven million acres of forest are destroyed by wildfires annually.
Nearly 60 percent of all forest fires are caused by humans, according to the ratio of lightning-started versus human-started fires from 2001 to 2012.
Forests planted by American Forests domestically and around the world provide habitats for a variety of rare and endangered species, such as spotted owls, river otters, Siberian tigers, bald eagles and monarch butterflies.
The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker requires up to 500 acres to live.
Female black bears living in the mountains can roam across 2,800 acres.
Gray foxes generally have a home range of about 500 acres.
Today there are 155 national forests in 42 states, plus one in Puerto Rico, comprising almost 190 million acres — 8.5 percent of the nation’s total land area.
More than 130,000 miles of hiking trails in the U.S. are open to the public through the U.S. Forest Service.
More than 4,000 designated campgrounds in the U.S. are operated by the U.S. Forest Service.
Recreation is a $646 billion a year industry, compared to the $340 billion spent annually on cars and car parts.
Recreation provides 6.1 million jobs to Americans.
Recycling paper products is the most common way to save trees. Wheat, oak and barley left over from harvesting, or agri-pulp, are used as fillers with recycled paper. In 2010, 77 percent of all papermakers substituted some recycled paper for new wood.
Products such as paper towels, napkins, bathroom and facial tissue are made from 100 percent recycled paper.
Many designers and manufactures are using reclaimed wood from factory scraps, old furniture and sunken wood to design contemporary, earth-friendly furniture.
Trees increase property value of your home by 10 to 20 percent and attract new home buyers.
Shoppers shop more often and longer in well-landscaped business districts and are willing to pay more for parking and up to 12 percent more for goods and services.
Areas with trees experience lower crime rates.
Source: americanforests.org | un.org