Tree Week can help us appreciate their value
Timber growers tend to focus mostly on the financial aspects of owning woodland, but as trees bring us so many benefits that we often ignore or take for granted, we should take a more rounded look at trees and how we could not exist without them.
In order to remind us of how trees are basic to our survival, each year the Tree Council of Ireland organises a national tree week. This year, it will be held on March 4-10 and, with the help of the 50 or so groups that form the council, this week-long festival will celebrate all the positive aspects of trees in our lives and the environment, and I am grateful to the council for much of the following information.
Humans have always depended on trees for food, medicine, shelter and materials. They provide oxygen and absorb pollutants, improve air quality and offer us clean air to breathe. Trees enhance wildlife habitats, beautify landscapes, prevent flooding and soil erosion and reduce the impact of climate change.
They contribute the essential raw materials for our sawmills, joinery works, crafts and many other industries, providing a source of livelihood and employment which is especially valuable in rural areas where jobs are often scarce.
Trees provide wonderful recreational opportunities for both young and old and have a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing. A walk in a woodland is proven to reduce blood pressure and provides essential relaxation.
From the moment they are planted, trees grow in importance, visibility and value and, as the years pass, they improve our quality of life in countless ways. But, even if all this doesn't convince you of the merit of planting them, how about the following?
As connectors with our past, trees are among the oldest living objects on the planet and serve as a link between our ancestors, ourselves and our future descendants.