Have a look at this – it is REAL!
What makes it special for us is that it is native to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, where our youngest son Christopher was born.
Following yesterday’s post about forest bathing, I was drawn to do some more research. Wow. I found myself immersed in learning about and looking at trees for the whole afternoon. And left feeling like I had barely touched the tip of the branches.
Here’s some of what I found out–
There 46 percent fewer trees now than 12,000 years ago, when agriculture was in its infancy. How sad.
A global tree census in April 2017 concluded that there are 60,065 tree species currently known to science.
An ancient tree, thought to have been extinct for 150 million years, was discovered in 1994 in Australia. It is the Wollemi Pine. In an effort to preserve the species, certificated and numbered seedlings can be purchased from nurseries. I actually bought some. Unfortunately, they did not survive my ministrations. I was bereft.
Trees ‘talk’ to each other. True that. Scientists have discovered that ‘mother trees’ – just like in Avatar – connect to hundreds of younger trees around them through an underground network. This network enables forests to adapt and survive human imposed changes to the environment. How amazing!
“We have found that mother trees will send their excess carbon through the mycorrhizal network to the understory seedlings,” Simard explained in a 2016 TED Talk, “and we’ve associated this with increased seedling survival by four times.”
Trees are known to send airborne chemical warning signals to each other about impending insect attacks. They can even attract predators and parasites to kill the insects.
Research has mainly focused on chemicals that attract other arthropods, but as a 2013 study found, apple trees under attack by caterpillars release chemicals that attract caterpillar-eating birds.
Mangrove trees can filter up to 90 percent of salt out of seawater. Taproots of large trees like the hickory, oak, pine and walnut have been known to go down more than 6 metres. There is a wild fig tree n the Echo Caves of South Africa with a root depth of 400 feet.
Roots serve many purposes. They hold the soil together. They absorb ground water and can limit flooding from heavy rain. A single mature oak is able to transpire more than 40,000 gallons of water in a year. Transpiration releases water back into the air as vapour. Vapour leads to rain. And wait – there is more. Trees soak up soil pollutants
One sugar maple can remove 60 milligrams of cadmium, 140 mg of chromium and 5,200 mg of lead from the soil per year, and studies have shown farm runoff contains up to 88 percent less nitrate and 76 percent less phosphorus after flowing through a forest.
And let’s not forget they clean the air. City trees have been found to be one of the most cost effective methods for reducing urban air pollution levels. By taking in carbon dioxide trees help to reduce the carbon footprint.
Even when they are dead, trees continue to provide a valuable service. It is estimated that up to 40 percent of wild life, fungi, lichens, mosses and insects live in the microhabitats of dead wood. Thank God for trees!
© Raili Tanska
Steps for Peace
Forest bathe, and plant more trees