A week to cel­e­brate, plant and look af­ter our tree her­itage

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - JELLYBEAN JOURNAL - JBJ RE­PORTER

TREES pro­duce oxy­gen, which we need for sur­vival and life it­self. Just one ma­ture leafy tree pro­duces as much oxy­gen in a sea­son as 10 peo­ple in­hale in a year.

This week we cel­e­brate Na­tional Ar­bour Week, from Septem­ber 1 to 7.

There is a coun­try wide cam­paign aimed at mo­ti­vat­ing schools, busi­nesses and com­mu­ni­ties to plant, spon­sor and look af­ter South Africa’s nat­u­ral tree her­itage.

Trees are im­por­tant as they im­prove the air qual­ity and also ab­sorb car­bon. In do­ing so, they con­trib­ute to­wards coun­ter­act­ing global warm­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Wa­ter Af­fairs and Forestry, trees make ef­fec­tive sound bar­ri­ers as they are able to muf­fle ur­ban noise al­most as ef­fec­tively as stone walls. Trees also act as wind­breaks dur­ing the windy sea­son.

In win­ter, the same trees break the force of win­ter winds, low­er­ing heat­ing costs.

Dur­ing the rainy sea­sons trees help pre­vent soil ero­sion and also mark bound­aries and strengthen ter­races.

While pro­vid­ing shade, they pro­vide pri­vacy for our homes and give us fuel, tim­ber, stakes, poles, crops, fod­der, fruit, nuts, oilseeds, leaves, pods, tan­nins, dyes, raisins, fi­bre and medicines.

Trees act as “drought in­sur­ance”, as with their deeper roots they are more likely to yield some­thing in dry years when con­ven­tional crops fail. An­other cru­cial role is in re­cy­cling nu­tri­ents and en­rich­ing soils (legu­mi­nous trees fix ni­tro­gen with their roots, and all trees pro­duce leaf fil­ter). Trees have spe­cific uses in cities too. They can no­tice­ably af­fect en­ergy use in mod­ern build­ings.

The UN be­lieves the en­ergy sav­ings from trees are enough to jus­tify world-wide tree plant­ings in cities with high sum­mer tem­per­a­tures through tran­spi­ra­tion, and they re­duce noise lev­els, fil­ter out pol­lu­tion and re­duce res­i­den­tial en­ergy use.

Ur­ban trees save 10 times more car­bon an­nu­ally than ru­ral trees.

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