Trees are super essential to life on the planet. Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen which living things, especially humans require. They also combat climate change, help to control erosion, heal/regenerate the soil and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.
It is for this and many more important roles that trees play in our lives and environment that the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project has engaged massively in afforestation and reforestation efforts.
ACReSAL Project, in line with her Development Objective and mandate of restoring one million hectares of degraded land – out of the 4 million hectares target set for broader landscape restoration by Federal Government of Nigeria by 2030 is tasked to play an active role in innovative planting and caring for trees to help offset deforestation and increase landscapes restoration.
The goals of the Project includes: dry-land management, wetlands restoration, reducing land degradation and erosion, increasing vegetative cover; improving agricultural productivity; increasing availability and access to water; improving pasture management and nomadic grazing practices and improve farm and non-farm livelihoods of people living at the project implementation/catchment area, mobilizing, sensitizing, educating, building and strengthening stakeholders/communities capacities and resilience to the management of the environment.
One of the important pathways to the attainment of the project mandate is through innovative and institutionalized tree planting campaign.
What are the benefits of planting trees for our planet?
1. Trees combat climate change.
CO2 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect. Trees trap CO2 from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth available. They give us oxygen in return.
According to research, millions of tons of carbon are stored in the trees that make up the forests. Mature trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of CO2 a year. The tree in turn releases enough oxygen to sustain two human beings. Trees also help to reduce ozone levels in urban areas.
2. Trees help control erosion.
Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls. This reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding. Trees can thus help in preventing soil erosion because it lessens the speed of water flow from the hills and mountains into streams and rivers. Therefore, planting a tree today will result in decreased vulnerabilities to soil erosion.
3. Trees enhance Biodiversity (provide food & shelters).
Trees also contribute to boosting biodiversity as they become a food source and natural habitat for wildlife. One apple tree produces about 20 fruit bushels per year which can nourish many birds, insects, and wildlife. It can be planted on a very small surface but has a fantastic environmental effect. Trees that are most planted as homes for birds, squirrels, and bees are oak and sycamore.
4. Trees purify the air.
They absorb pollutant gases such as nitrogen oxides, ozone, ammonia, sulfur dioxide. Trees also absorb odors and act as filters as little particulates get trapped in leaves. A mature acre of trees can yearly provide oxygen for 18 people.
5. Trees reduce noise pollution.
Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution. This is especially important for people who live near freeways. In some cases, a well planted group of trees can reduce noise pollution by up to 10 decibels.
6. Trees provide natural cooling effects.
The Arbor Day Foundation states that the overall effect of the shade created by planting a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners running 20 hours a day.
7. Economic trees serves as a source of income and provide food for humans.
Start by planting and nurturing a tree today. Trees for Life. Plant More Trees
Specific Benefits of Planting Trees:
Most often we plant trees to provide shade and beautify our landscapes. These are great benefits but trees also provide other less obvious benefits.
Trees make life nicer. It has been proven that spending time among trees and green spaces reduces the amount of stress that we carry around with us in our daily lives.
Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their hospital room offered a view of trees.
Children have also been shown to retain more of the information taught in schools if they spend some of their time outdoors in green spaces.
Trees are often planted as living memorials or reminders of loved ones or to commemorate significant events in our lives too.
Even though you may own the trees on your property your neighbors may benefit from them as well. Through careful planning, trees can be an asset to your entire community.
Tree lined streets have a traffic calming effect, traffic moves more slowly and safely. Trees can be placed to screen unwanted views or noise from busy highways. Trees can complement the architecture or design of buildings or entire neighborhoods.
Trees offer many environmental benefits.
Trees reduce the urban heat effect through evaporative cooling and reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches parking lots and buildings. This is especially true in areas with large impervious surfaces, such as parking lots or stores and industrial complexes.
Trees improve the air quality by filtering harmful dust and pollutants such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide from the air we breathe.
Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe. Trees reduce the amount of storm water runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways and may reduce the effects of flooding.
Many species of wildlife depend on trees for habitat. Trees also provide food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals.
Well placed trees can reduce your cooling costs during heat periods by shading the south and west sides of your home. Deciduous will also allow the sun pass through and warm your home during wet seasons
Evergreen trees on the north side of your home and shrubs around the foundation of your home can also act as windbreak to reduce the cooling effects of winds.
The value of a well landscaped home with mature healthy trees can be as much as 10% higher than a similar home with no or little landscaping. (Topping will reduce the value of your trees).
Some indirect economic benefits of trees.
If we reduce the energy we use then utility companies will have less demand placed on the infrastructure, thus reducing operating costs which can be passed on to the consumer.
At the moment, there has been high level of sensitization, awareness and understanding of the significance of tree planting across the project participating states/LGAs/Communities, which has changed the narratives towards increasing the adoption of sustainable landscapes management practices.
The Project has trained, empowered, supported and established community interest groups (CIGs) that are into nurseries and seedlings production in some states.
Some participating states have planted different species of trees, improving forest reserves, the trees are now serving as wind breakers and importantly aimed at reducing carbon emissions. This has led to the restoration of a total of 1,139 hectares through woodlot and orchard plantation, as well as other forms of afforestation.
It is also important to mention that Executive Governors of ACReSAL Project Participating states have been supportive and have keyed into aggressive afforestation and reforestation exercises of the Project considering the relevance to the environment and human existence.
Traditional and Religious Leaders, Government and Academic Institutions, Non-Governmental and Community Based Organizations, Community members ( men, women and youths) and even students are not left out in tree planting awareness campaigns and activities of ACReSAL Project. This is to ensure sustainability and adoption of innovation tree planting practices towards greening the environment and saving lives, that includes wildlife.
Having known the benefits of tree planting, make tree planting your way of life, a culture.
Plant at least one tree a day.
Say No to Indiscriminate felling of trees, it leads to global warming, erosion, floods, deforestation, destruction of farmlands as well as climate change effects. This has a negative economic impact on our daily lives.
Below are some pictorials of tree planting activities across some participating states.
Jigawa Acresal, Jamilu Abdullahi and 42 others