Trees – the unsung heroes with super-powers
The UK needs to plant tens of millions of trees in the coming years to help soak up carbon emissions and reduce serious flooding.
A report to the Government by the Committee on Climate Change says the UK must increase its forest cover from 13% now to 19% by 2050. The advisers also recommend that the Government should more than double the number of trees it plants by 2020.
The Woodland Trust describes the advice as a “wake-up call” and should be acted on immediately.
Whether it’s their leading role in fighting global warming or simply their sheer beauty, trees are super-heroes that just keep on giving. Here are 10 amazing facts about trees.
- They help keep us alive – literally. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen for us to breathe.
- They also release chemicals called phytoncides, thought to have health benefits for us when we are exposed to them – another good reason for a woodland walk!
- Trees are vital for biodiversity as they provide a home for thousands of species, from birds and mammals to insects and reptiles.
- Forest trees are highly social. They communicate with other and share nutrients, using an underground network of fungi dubbed ‘The Wood Wide Web’.
- Some trees can emit chemical signals to warn neighbouring trees of an impending insect attack.
- A mature oak can ‘drink’ over 100 gallons of water a day.
- Scientists believe the first trees on earth were between 350 and 400 million years ago.
- The oldest ancient tree in the UK is the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, thought to be 3,000 years-old – possible older.
- There are an estimated three trillion trees on earth currently.
- A study by Yale University found that the annual net loss of trees is 10 billion. At this rate there will be no trees left in 300 years’ time.
So, if you’re looking to add a feature to your garden, why not plant a tree? The Woodland Trust has some great advice at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk.