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Earth has been going through cycles of climate change since the beginning of time. Our current cycle of global warming has been happening for thousands of years as large glaciers all over the world began to melt, but as humans continue to modify the environment, global warming accelerates. One big defense humans have to combat global warming and prevent other environmental disasters is quite simple: plant trees.
Deforestation is a big reason global warming continues to accelerate. As more trees are cut down, burned, and cleared for human development the carbon in them is released into the atmosphere which causes it to heat up, making the planet warmer overall. There are other ways that humans release through carbon such as fossil fuels. If we reverse this trend and plant more trees than we cut down, the trend will be reversed. The trees will help pull the excess carbon out of the air. Planting more trees that we currently do would be a simple and beneficial solution to excess carbon emissions. Reducing carbon emissions is not the only reasons planting trees globally would be beneficial. A study done by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) came to the conclusion that, with careful planning, expanding forests worldwide is a way to combat climate change. Without careful planning, though, there is a chance for wasted resources. As global warming continues, urban areas will be most affected by the rising temperatures. Planting trees in these urban areas is a great way to combat the rising temperatures. While trees are a great way to fight global warming, they provide a myriad of other resources as well, no matter what climate change may bring. Economically, new forests can provide products and jobs. They provide natural resources such as wildlife and food like honey that can be harvested and marketed. They also provide timber. If these resources are harvested in a sustainable way, forests can provide livelihoods for communities for generations. One way to harvest timber sustainably is to maintain tree farms to replace the trees that they cut down. The timber then comes from these farms, leaving natural forests to thrive. Harvesting within natural forests can be sustainable as well, by harvesting old trees instead of young, healthy trees, timber companies can actually contribute to the health of forests. Not only do trees and forests provide resources, they are also a magnet for tourism, hunting, and camping industries. Areas where natural resources are the focus have a boost to the economy through the monies brought in by tourism. Planting trees can also increase the economic value of certain areas. People love to see and look at trees so when they are planted in neighborhood or in yards they can increase property values. When placed correctly they also provide shade to houses which can reduce energy costs in the summer. Trees can also help with agricultural pursuits. They help by maintaining levels of nitrogen and water in the soil and can even help increase food yields.
Besides global warming, trees also have other environmental benefits. They can reduce the process of desertification, maintain soil, protects coastal areas, and acts as windbreaks. Desertification is a process that has happened throughout the history of the world. The Sahara Desert was once a thick forest, but time and climate change destroyed the trees and turned the area into a desert. When this happens naturally it is part of the earth’s ecology, however human interference can cause this to happen in places it should not. The Great Plains in the 1930s saw massive amounts of environmental decay caused by unsustainable farming practices and severe drought, leading to the start of desertification of the area. This almost devastated the region. One of the major ways the region was able to reverse the damage was through planting rows of trees along plots of land to use as windbreaks and protect the soil. The trees also helped hold water and irrigate the fields. Without planting trees, the area may not have returned to its former glory. Globally, trees are used to protect soil. Trees reduce erosion because their roots go deep into the soil and hold it together, even through rain and storms. They help maintain soil stability as well as both reducing water loss and from soil and protecting soil from becoming drenched during huge storms. Trees can also protect coastal areas the same way.
History has shown us that planting trees can be a valuable tool to reducing environmental problems. Research tells us that planting trees is extremely important in reducing the effects of global warming. Planting trees can benefit humans economically and environmentally, and it can have these effects worldwide. People in all locations have a duty to plant trees on the local level and push for policies that will encourage tree planting on a much wider scale. We need to start planning and pushing to increase the number of trees we plant across the globe.
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