What have trees done for us?

This was the question posed to us by Jane Finlay, President of the British Landscape Association. This simple question strikes at the heart of our complacent and generally uncaring attitude towards trees. We take them for granted and cut them down without thinking. Yet as children, we loved them, climbing their up their trunks and branches, building tree houses and playing hide and seek. As we have got older, we forgot how much pleasure they gave us and have treated them as some utility to be exploited. The older we got the less wise and more uncaring we became. This sad state of affairs is having strong consequences which cannot ignore.

It is now time to re-acquaint ourselves with what trees do for us. They:

  • Remove harmful gases
  • Remove airborne particulates
  • Improve weather patterns
  • Cool urban areas
  • Stabilise the soil and prevent erosion
  • Reduce and prevent water pollution
  • Reduce the risk of flooding by up to 20%
  • Reduce noise pollution
  • Sequesters carbon
  • Improves out health, for example we are less likely to use anti-depressants if we have trees nearby
  • Are a source of medicines
  • Provide food for a wide variety of wildlife. Indeed the common Oak supports 2300 species
  • Re-javanite our towns, making them more attractive and encourage people to visit and companies to invest in them

Jane urged us to think more about the importance of trees and help them to thrive, if only for our own sakes. More practically, she offered us all a tree to plant. Most of us did so.

A wonderful, thought provoking talk that has spurred many of us into a far more pro-active approach to support one of our planets greatest asset; our trees.

Please take a look at Jane Findlay’s slides for her presentation.

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