Trees are among the most impressive creatures on our planet.
Where the climate is not too dry or too cold, they dominate the landscape. Where they grow, they are the central building block of the ecosystem. Our global ecosystem would be hard to imagine without the benefits of trees. But why are the more than 3 trillion estimated trees from over 60,000 species?
Trees produce oxygen like all plants on earth. Even a small tree only 20 meters high produces about 10,000 liters of oxygen a day.
That’s enough for 5 to 10 people who need 500 to 2,000 liters of oxygen each day.
Trees bind carbon and slow down climate change. The reason is photosynthesis, the trees operate to grow at all. In this process, trees absorb the carbon dioxide from the air responsible for climate change. Under the influence of light, they decompose the gas into its components and transform it into organic materials such as wood.
For a cubic meter of wood, a tree consumes an average of one ton of CO²
Trees are considered the ‘green lung’ of cities. This is because they filter dust and particles from the air. A tree filters up to 100 kilograms of dust per year via its leaves or needles from the air. When it rains, the collected dust flows down the trunk into the ground and is permanently removed from the air.
About 30 to 60 million species live on our planet. Of these, an estimated 6,700 species depend on trees and forests in Germany. Trees provide nesting sites, food, habitat and shelter for a wide variety of animals. From the smallest insects to large predators everything is represented.
Trees provide a rich source of food for humans and animals. Leaves, needles, and buds provide a vital foundation for wildlife, especially in spring. The blooms provide food for bees, bumblebees, and other insects. But even later in the year trees are attractive. They provide a wealth of fruits, nuts, berries, and seeds, thanks to which the animals come safely through the winter.
Trees are excellent shade donors. In summer we use it as a natural sunscreen. But even inside the house, the tree can offer advantages. A well-positioned tree can reduce up to 25 percent of the energy needed for heating and cooling. A single tree evaporates up to 500 liters of water per day and provides a cooling capacity of 10 to 15 air conditioners. This means that on hot summer days in the shade of the green giants the perceived temperature is about 10 to 15 degrees lower. He also reduces the wind speed by 85 percent.
In a community, several trees together form the forest. From half a hectare full of trees, science speaks of forest. It suffices if the crowns cover about one-tenth of the surface.
A walk in the forest is very relaxing. But it is not just the physical activity and the beautiful surroundings that make us feel better after a forest walk. Researchers have found that substances called Phyto-cytes are involved. They are released by the plants to fight against pathogens. Our immune system benefits from the visit to the forest!
Since the 1713 published book ‘Sylvicultura oeconomica’, Hans Carl von Carlowitz is considered the inventor of sustainable forestry. His model is about removing only as much wood from the forest as has grown in the same period of time. Thus, the forest is a never-ending source of fuel and construction material, food, habitat, climate regulator, and resort.
The forest churns wood. Depending on the tree species, the wood is worth a different amount and grows at different speeds. Beech takes longer to grow but has more valuable wood, as it is denser and firmer due to the slow growth than, for example, spruce. Thus, a solid meter of spruce wood costs about 80 to 90 euros, while beech wood is 100 to 130 euros.
Building with wood saves both costs and energy. In comparison to steel, concrete, or brick, wood is more durable and lighter in weight. The beautiful look can even be dispensed with a disguise. Passive wooden houses save up to 80 percent on heating costs compared to conventional brick buildings. At the same time, the CO² stored in the wood remains bound to furniture and houses. By a long-lasting use of the wood, we can evade the atmosphere gradually CO².