A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.
Forests are the lungs of our land,
purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
I want to talk about tree farms for a hot second.
This came up in conversation a while back when I was discussing Christmas trees within a group on Facebook. Basically, the debate was over whether an artificial tree was the better option because it could be reused a number of years, as opposed to resources being used to grow trees that are then cut and soon after disposed of.
I think this is a pretty common misconception, or at least common enough that I feel compelled to write about it. But as I see it tree farming— the growing of trees as a crop to be used, whether to make paper, lumber or decorative indoor shrubbery on which to hang tinsel— is actually a pretty good thing for the environment.
For starters, trees fight climate change.
This is, all by itself, a very solid argument in defense of tree farming. Trees store carbon and produce oxygen; managed trees produce less carbon from decaying plant matter. And tree farms are continually planting new trees to replace the ones cut down, to remain sustainable.
Tree farms provide habitat for wildlife.
Humans: they’re everywhere. And they’re edging wildlife out of their natural habitat. With every parking lot and superstore and road built to accommodate the ever growing population, it becomes harder for animals to move from green space to green space. Tree farms are a place that local wildlife can pretty much depend on to continue to provide shelter for years to come, and in some cases have helped animal species rebound from the brink of extinction. (Obviously, federal wildlife refuges serve this purpose too; the difference is that tree farms aren’t necessarily government owned.)
Treed areas are good for human health too.
Tree farms mean more trees. It’s important to protect existing forests, but the addition of more tree farms means more people in the presence of trees and a host of associated mental and physical health benefits. Even being able to view a treed horizon from your bedroom, office or car window can make a difference.
Here’s a handy dandy infographic on tree farms; it’s interesting how it reframes the why of recycling paper.
Your thoughts on tree farming and paper recycling?