In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s extend our love beyond friends and family to reflect on our gratitude for trees too! There are so many reasons to appreciate trees, from the shade they provide on a hot summer day to the changing colours of their leaves in the fall.
Here are five reasons that we love trees:
1. Trees give us a sense of beauty
From the Douglas Fir-dominated, old-growth forests of the West Coast to the Acadian forests of the East Coast, Canada has a large variety of tree species and forest types. It is estimated that there are 140 trees native to Canada. This vast amount of biodiversity adds a sense of beauty to our yards, streets and landscapes. Additionally, in Canada we get to experience the glory of trees over four seasons: their fragrant blooms in the spring, their soothing greens in the summer, their captivating colours in the fall, and blankets of snow-covered trees in the winter.
2. Trees store carbon over long periods
Not only do trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere when they’re alive and growing, but they can continue to store the carbon long-term after they’re harvested. Harvested Wood Products, such as furniture, plywood, paper and paper-based products, will store carbon right up until they are burned or decay, after which they release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
3. Trees provide food and medicine
Trees provide several types of interesting resources. Among their various offerings, food is a significant resource. Trees produce fruit and nuts, which are a source of nutritive elements for wildlife and humans. Some shrub species also produce medicinal substances such as the Canada yew which is used to treat some types of cancers.
4. Trees make us happier and healthier
Spending time with trees and in forests is just plain good for us, as the growing body of scientific research shows. Compared to walking in an urban environment, research has demonstrated that walking in a forest can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression, increase vigor, decrease cortisol levels, and increase the ability to recover from stress. Given that stress also inhibits our immune system, the stress-reduction benefits of being in a forest are even further magnified.
5. Trees show us we’re part of something bigger
It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, there are trees. They live in our cities, our rural areas and are essential to the great wilderness areas that make up our planet. They are an integral part of ecosystems, showing how intricately connected all parts of it are, and how intricately connected we are to each of those parts. Our survival and well-being depend on trees, and without them, like a great love, our lives would not be as rich.
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