Just 5% of the world’s tree species are currently being planted. These 5% are the most global in species diversity. There are a few reasons for this loss and in an age of housing-focused development and rampant deforestation, we don’t have to let this happen.
The world’s forests are under threat but this shouldn’t stop us from planting more trees and expanding our green canopy. —EDWARD VALENTINE, US Forest Service
The United States is home to 63 million trees. Each year, these trees help keep an estimated 36 million acres of forest, about the size of Iowa, moist and healthy.
Each tree is responsible for roughly 400 pounds of wood, which could be valued at $240 million for recycling or reused. That is why saving our nation’s trees is more important than ever.
Aside from the beauty of living trees, their physical benefits include reducing the use of air and water in buildings, providing cooling and heating for buildings, and lowering the emission of greenhouse gases.
Since 1994, Americans have planted about 44 million new trees, but the U.S. Forest Service notes that more trees would likely have offset the loss of around 3.7 million acres of forests since then. But it is also important to expand our groves of living things. Currently, the US could not sustain a climate change scenario that drives temperature up by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which could be deadly for the earth’s flora. The US relies on trees as a primary source of renewable energy. If more trees are not planted by 2030, there could be a price hike of more than $1,300 on each household’s utility bill.
But the reason it matters is that as much as nearly 20% of the planet’s CO2 is released into the atmosphere through wood smoke, which produces about 90,000 premature deaths each year.
“The world’s forests are under threat but this shouldn’t stop us from planting more trees and expanding our green canopy,” U.S. Forest Service Director, Edward Valentine, said in a statement.
The Forest Service currently has conservation goals in place for 61% of the 2.5 million acres of land in the national forests that are within 300 miles of a metropolitan center. That is 100% clear of major industrial, energy and development zones.
Take a look at just some of the things we could do with more trees: