Trees: A Precious Resource To Ensures Mankind's Survival
There are currently 7 billion individuals occupying this planet. On a day-to-day basis, all of those individuals make use of a technology that is 370 million years old. That so-called “technology” is nothing more than a tree. Upon recognizing this, individuals ask the questions “What impact do trees really have on my day-to-day life?” and “What impact will trees have on my future?”
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree: This cliche can be stretched way beyond its average meaning because trees have gone hand-in-hand with the evolution of mankind. For example, Hippocrates found that the bark from willow trees could be used to treat illnesses. That discovery was expanded for thousands of years until finally the over the counter drug (aspirin) was created. Additionally, one can see that innovations such as paper, cereal boxes, maple syrup, crayons, soap, paint, dyes, and various other products all came as a result of using the natural resources specific to trees. All of those are extremely helpful in today’s society, but they are relatively small when compared to the overall relationship mankind has with trees.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and emit oxygen. That process is crucial to the betterment of mankind because every human inhales oxygen and exhales CO2. This means trees are one of the main components involved in sustaining life on the planet.
That previously mentioned point regarding trees and sustaining life explains why one-third of the land area on the planet is made up of trees. With that being said, there are still various Locations that manage to drop below the average population in terms of land occupied by trees. Those locations see a change in the content of the atmosphere because they receive more CO2 emissions.
Those abnormally high levels of CO2 have been shown to cause respiratory illnesses. This is demonstrated in a 2013 study, which is recorded in the american journal of preventative medicine. That study specifically targeted a region of the globe that lost over one hundred million ash trees. The conclusion showed the region saw an unprecedented number of patients suffering illnesses.
What did mankind do with themselves before they had cars, trains, planes, air conditioning, household electricity, and other common pleasures? Well, the obvious answer to that question is that they carried out lives, made new innovations, and left blueprints that allowed new creations to form. Those new creations caused mankind to develop, but they also caused CO2 levels to increase.
Painting a picture: As previously mentioned CO2 emissions increased following the dramatic change that occurred around the 20th century. That is hard to put into perspective without the factual support. The facts show that during the pre-industrial industry (1780) the environment consisted of 270 parts per million (ppm). Currently the environment is at 400 parts per million (ppm). The parts per million (ppm) are estimated to be 600 by the year 2060.
400 parts per million (ppm) translates to roughly 36 tons of CO2 being emitted every year. There are currently 3 trillion trees that have the responsibility of counteracting that CO2. The number of trees that was estimated at this point in time was 400 billion. The current number of trees is eight times the estimated number, but the amount of CO2 that is emitted still supersedes the amount of CO2 that can be consumed by trees.
At this point, the CO2 dilemma has been put into perspective. The immediate response to the dilemma is to simply plant more trees. This can be assessed by looking at a trees average ability to consume CO2. 1 tree consumes twenty kilograms in a year. That means 50 trees can consume 1 ton of CO2 in a year. The goal is to counteract 36 billion tons of CO2. In order for this to occur 1.8 trillion trees need to be planted.
One can assume the optimal spacing between trees is 10 meters. That would mean those previously mentioned trees would need 180 million square kilometers of land. The total number of land area available is currently 149 million square kilometers. In other words, trees cannot properly counteract all the CO2 emissions.
A Compromise With the Trees
The number of trees should most definitely continue to grow even though they cannot fix all the CO2 emissions. This means occupying all areas that are not deserts, water, farms, or truly necessary locations. That increase in trees will prevent high amounts of CO2 emissions in particular areas. That will diminish the already known diseases that come from abnormally high CO2 emissions. There are currently 442 trees per person, but that number can most definitely increase.
The current CO2 dilemma in relation to trees has been depicted using the concrete facts. Those facts clearly demonstrated that the excessive amounts of CO2 emissions are exceeding the amount of oxygen being released. Additionally, those facts demonstrated that it is physically impossible to correct the entire problem using trees. This leaves one asking the question “what will happen if this is not corrected?”
The first method of answering that question would be to evaluate the facts regarding a human's ability to deal with excessive amounts of CO2. When one comes into contact with too much CO2 they can experience a headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and death. If one was in an environment where they were unable to access oxygen they would experience hyperventilation. When that occurs in an environment that has excessive amounts of CO2 the person would be likely to faint. If they were not removed their brain would eventually shut down, which would result in death.
A World Without Trees?
The second aspect of evaluating a future with excessively high CO2 levels is rather complicated. This is because it is nearly impossible take all factors of life and land alterations into consideration. When CO2 levels rise oxygen levels decrease, but once CO2 levels reach a certain point the previously mentioned deathly effects start to occur. Because of this it is best to answer the question by portraying a world without trees.
The first event that would tranpire in a world without trees would be lethal. There would be nothing to absorb the CO2 and release oxygen. Because of that humans would be exposed to CO2 rather than oxygen. That would cause almost immediate death.
Growing soil on mars: Without trees the earth would essentially resemble another planet because trees would no longer be present to filter out chemicals and pollutants. Over time that would cause soil erosion. From that point, nothing would be able to grow. This would likely result in the starvation or at least malnourishment of the population because foods such as potatoes, corn, oranges, apples, and all other foods that grow out of the ground to be removed. Additionally, all wildlife would die with the exception of cockroaches. That would translate to being unable to consume meat, eggs, or any type of animal.
Unbearable temperatures: Typically during dry or humid times trees regulate the temperature. This is exemplified by the way drought stricken areas are without trees. Without the regulation process would no longer occur and the drought would be amplified. That would cause a drought, which would lead to unbearably hot temperatures and overall erosion of the remaining substances on the planet. That would specifically include the sea and all animals that reside in the sea.
Water depletion: When one puts a few drops of CO2 in water they can see it transition from clear to dark black. After the water does this it becomes unable to be consumed. In a world without trees the water would become subject to CO2 and do the same thing, which would present a major threat to mankind because water is a primary need. If water was somehow preserved it would still become a problem because the that water would be consumed and depleted. When that supply of water came to an end there would be no more water because there would be no more rain or water supply to purify.
Describing a world with high CO2 emission and describing a world where CO2 was the only emission was intended to highlight the fact that trees are extremely precious resources that ensure mankind's survival. Additionally, those two descriptions were intended to show that trees must continue to be planted and used in moderation. This means staying in touch with the current CO2 emissions. That also means recognizing when too many trees are being used for day-to-day products.
Preparing For the Future
One can most definitely state that CO2 emissions may increase to unsafe levels in the future. It is also safe to say that the process of planting trees or replacing trees in the future may be neglected. In order to prepare for this individuals can plant trees and known the average life of the trees that are indigenous to their areas.
Some of the longest living trees include “Methuselah,” which has lived 4,847 years,“Prometheus,” which has lived 4,844 years,“Gran Abuelo,” which has lived 3,645 years, and “CBR26,” which has lived 3,266 years. Some of the more common plants that live shorter lives are the palm persimmon that lives 60 years and the black willow that lives 75 years. Overall this is very important because it allows a person to replenish the oxygen being produced in a particular area. That allows the CO2 emissions to be combated and more importantly the possible health conditions to diminish.
The facts stated in this article are intended to allow one to gain as much knowledge as possible.
Love trees as much as we do? Got some trees needing "TLC"? Call Nashua Tree Service today at (877) 959-9540 and let us help.