When I first opened the email link to the article, “The Forest Service’s community tree-planting program is poised to go from budget cutters’ target to spending priority”, it spoke of breathing new life back into the cities across the country. I knew this subject seemed familiar, realizing then that the copy of Arborist News from 2015 I took form my boss for marketing ideas coincided with this article, “The Value and Function of Evergreen Conifers as Urban Green Infrastructure.” As I read on it occurred to me this fight for trees in our surrounding environment has been one that’s been going on far longer than we have been alive. In the 1870’s a prominent New York City physician, Stephen Smith, helped spread a movement due to warmer weather creating faster spread of infectious disease and was looking for a way to curve this. In 1873 he proceeded to draft his first bill to the New York State legislature to introduce the Bureau of Forestry promoting the cultivation of trees which was finally approved in 1902. In 1958, Chauncey Leake, president of the American Association for the Advancement of the Science, spoke of the atmosphere warming at the National Conference on Air Pollution. He spoke of ice caps melting, sea levels rising, and jumping levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Because of this he recommended planting 10 trees for every automobile and 100 trees for every truck.
Since 1990 we have lost a billion acres of forest. Destruction of the amazon forest has risen 21% in 2020. Farming, grazing from livestock, mining, and drilling accounts for more than a half of all deforestation. Removing the trees or depriving it of portions of its canopy that is helping to block the suns rays during the day and while helping retain heat at night leading to an increase in temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals. Also affecting water supplies, farmers, and carbon sequestration levels across the world. Sometimes, when new trees are planted, they can be a nuisance to some, creating unwanted berries or flowers, leaves in the pool, too many acorns, blocking sunlight, annoying leaves dropping every fall, BUT these trees are helping provide 260 pounds of oxygen per year. This should have been something we’ve been prioritizing now for sometime, however going “green” is something that has always been on the back burner. Most recently at the same time of promoting tree planting programs, there are reports of federal agencies planning logging projects in mature and old-growth forests across the country which seems somewhat counter productive. Especially considering the older trees of the forest hold much more carbon dioxide than younger trees.
Although there are a number of agencies around the world that are helping promote the importance and impact of tree planting, it seems to be impossible for us to catch up compared to what we are loosing daily. It would take 42 Million trees being planted EVERY DAY to account for the amount that is being forested.