A tree is so much more than a handy outdoor loo for your dog, or something for mischievous kids to climb and fall out of.
Trees are remarkable.
For as long as mankind has walked the planet trees have provided shelter, fuel, medicine, tools and building supplies. Trees are the earth’s life support system, purifying our atmosphere and water, but despite their vast importance to our daily lives the majority of us take the existence of trees for granted without ever really knowing just how amazing trees are.
Take a look at these top ten facts about trees, and you’ll see what we mean…
Cedar trees are something to write home about.
The wood obtained from a single cedar tree of average size can be used to make more than 170,000 pencils.
Willow trees warn each other when under attack.
Willow trees are susceptible to the destructive attentions of many types of caterpillar, such as those of the Gypsy Moth, which eat willow leaves.
However, when a willow is attacked by caterpillars it will release an airborne pheromone which ‘warns’ neighbouring trees.
Consequently, the ‘warned’ trees will synthesize compounds which render their leaves inedible to caterpillars.
Trees are a breath of fresh air.
Over a year, a single acre of forest will absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide as is emitted by driving an average car for 26,000 miles, and will produce enough oxygen to allow 18 humans to breathe for a year.
Theoretically, trees are immortal.
Left to their own devices in an environment free from predators and rich in appropriate nutrients there is no reason why a tree couldn’t live forever; unlike other organisms they do not succumb to death from old age, but normally die as a result of insect or animal activity, natural phenomena such as lightning strikes or earthquakes or from human intervention.
The Pacific Yew tree is a medical marvel.
The bark of the Pacific Yew contains a chemical compound known as Taxol, which has become one of the most effective elements of modern chemotherapy in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer, thanks to its ability to inhibit cancer cell division.
Trees increase the value of a property.
Opinions vary, but the general consensus amongst estate agents is that a mature and well-located tree can increase the value of a property by anything from 5% up to as much as 15%.
Money does grow on trees…
…in a manner of speaking. The economics of forestry and the subsequent products obtained accounts for approximately 1% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) with the trade in timber and wood products alone valued at more than $200 billion per year.
Trees sweat in a hot summer.
According to the experts at Kew Gardens, a mature, broad-leaved tree (such as an elm or an oak tree) can lose as much as 250 litres of water per hour on a hot sunny day.
The Alder tree prevents Venice from sinking.
Alder trees can often be found growing along the banks of rivers. Unlike other trees the wood of the Alder does not rot as a result of exposure to water, hence the buildings in the waterlogged city of Venice stand on stilts constructed from Alder.
In just one night, the UK lost more than 15 million trees
On the evening of Friday 16 October 1987, the worst storm to hit Britain since 1703 brought hurricane-force winds to the south of England, devastating an estimated 15 to 16 million trees – most notably including six of the seven ancient oak trees from which the Kent town of Sevenoaks takes its name.
For an excellent selection of forestry equipment head over to the fabulous Buxton’s online store.
- The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now (wtcampaigns.wordpress.com)
- The Ankerwycke Yew – a long story of a special ancient tree (wtcampaigns.wordpress.com)
- Woodland Highlights: July (wtcampaigns.wordpress.com)