Why are trees so important?

In 2019, 29 million acres of tree cover were lost due to fires, deforestation, and logging. This, along with climate change more generally, is transforming our trees – keeping them smaller and younger. It is essential that we preserve and protect trees and forest habitats to ensure a safe and healthy future for, not only the environment, but also the human species.

One such critical influence trees have is on the water cycle. With the floods currently occurring in Pakistan, and the droughts happening around the world, there is a disturbance in the water cycle.

The water cycle is a process whereby water falls to the ground as rain, and the water is then absorbed by trees and plants to then be released back into the air as transpiration. Trees play a significant role in the cycle, as a single tree usually releases between 250 – 400 gallons of water back into the air as transpiration. Therefore, trees are not only crucial in maintaining levels of humidity, but also in ensuring that the fresh water we rely on remains in balance.

This natural cycle has been disrupted by the too many trees that have already been lost, and so our water security is jeopardised.

Many families in Pakistan have had to move and leave their whole entire life behind; many left their homes in the middle of the night and watched as their homes were destroyed.

With 2 million acres of crops destroyed, farmers like Saleem must rebuild their lives from scratch.

And while humanitarian funding and aid are being issued, this is a long-term issue that needs to be addressed properly. Many farmers only get paid based on what they have picked from their farm, whether this be cotton or sugar cane, leaving hundreds without an income. Every link in the supply chain is therefore affected.

A cotton farmer, Waseem Ahmed made a bleak assessment: ‘We are doomed’

Whilst the floods in Pakistan and astonishing droughts occurring in Japan seem far from home, they truly are not. Due to the storms happening in the UK over the past few days, Nottingham and many other cities have been preparing for possible flooding. According to the Environment Agency, 5.9 million properties across Wales and England are at risk of flooding- equating to one in six homes. With the ability to destroy housing, crops, livestock and so much more – it is essential that we take accountability for our actions and how they impact our planet.

people wearing boots

Groundwork Greater Nottingham hope to provide quality green spaces that meet the needs of the community. Green spaces that increase pride, instill social cohesion and protect and develop the environment; our environmental team not only focus on tree planting but also litter picks, coppicing, hedge laying and many more.

Trees provide other environmental benefits, as they absorb carbon and store it in their trunks and soil. Trees absorb about one third of global emissions every year!

This is why Groundwork Greater Nottingham believes it is essential to develop, maintain and manage green sites by planting trees, coppicing and hedge laying. My colleagues and I recently took part in some tree planting and managed to plant 260 trees at a site in High Holborn, Derbyshire. Although it was a one-off day of tree-planting for me, for some of our staff it’s a regular outlet in their environmental conservation efforts. They do some amazing work, and we would love it if more of you could get involved and volunteer with us to help your local community.

Aliya Hussain

Email – aliya.hussain@groundworknottingham.org.uk