Tree planting in the Philippines and elsewhere, for that matter, has tremendous environmental benefits.
Planting trees is one of the most empowering activities because of its positive impact on the environment. Trees fight climate change, and this fact cannot be emphasized enough.
The Philippines is naturally green. However, deforestation is so widespread. We need to reverse the adverse effects of such. Otherwise, we will experience more droughts, floods, landslides, etc. Not to mention the country’s geographic location on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which means there are several typhoons each year.
We should not need any more convincing why we must plant more trees, including native trees. But it helps to know that tree planting has many other benefits, such as below.
We all know that trees help in cleaning the air by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2). Trees act as carbon sinks, offsetting carbon in the process.
What you don’t know is that trees are capable of absorbing odors, toxins, and pollutants like ammonia, sulfur oxide, and nitrogen oxide. Trees are also capable of filtering particulate matter. They trap them on their barks and leaves.
A tree alone has an absorption capacity of up to 10 pounds of polluted air while releasing 260 pounds of oxygen. By the time this tree reaches 40 years old, it has already absorbed at least one ton of CO2. Imagine what a forest can do in cleaning the air!
Trees can definitely improve air quality, which is essential for Filipinos. Air pollution remains to be a problem in the country. It has one of the worst air quality indexes at 63 (with 165 being the highest), ranking 57th out of 98 countries in Asia.
There is a reason why property specialists recommend living near the green spaces. It reduces the stress and anxiety of the dwellers and slows down cognitive decline. No wonder hospitals prioritized filling their gardens with trees to speed up the healing process.
Not just our mental health, though, but also our physical health. A study commissioned by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) discovered that people living in greener neighborhoods have lower risks of developing metabolic syndrome. Long-term exposure to these green spaces also reduces the risk of having non-communicable diseases.
Trees and the lush flora around us encourage us to engage in nature-based activities. Even brisk walking gives us the feeling of elation made possible by the calmness of the surrounding. The calming effect of being near trees is good for our overall health.
Trees also give us food to eat, including foods, nuts, and berries. Some trees have edible leaves also that humans and animals can consume. What’s more, they provide us with the nutrition boost that we need.
This is important in areas where hunger is a problem. Trees can promote food production and sustainability. In other countries, people practice edible landscaping and foraging, especially in areas where homelessness is high. There’s zero hunger in these places.
Also, did you know about 25% of the ingredients of common medicines come from trees? So if you’ve taken an aspirin today, you have the trees to thank.
When growing a tree, we don’t usually think of financial savings. Perhaps we should. First, trees give off fruits and other edibles to eat. Second, they can be a great medicinal source. Third, they decorate our home. And fourth, they conserve energy.
The Philippines has two seasons: wet and dry. However, environmental elements can get the best of us. But with trees, they provide us shade during the summer and shelter us when it becomes windy outside. The shade that provides insulation also acts as a barrier between our skin and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Furthermore, trees work breaking up the heat and cooling our place. Trees can reduce the ambient temperature by up to 8 degrees Celsius. Pollution and overheating are inevitable, especially that people continue to flock to the urban areas. Trees can help address this problem by mitigating the urban heat island effect, making cities healthier and safer places to live. This phenomenon is caused by excessive modernization without offsetting through tree planting.
Going back, there’s no need to foot hefty energy bills. The savings can be up to 25% of the original bill, which is relatively high considering the electricity cost in the Philippines.
When we talk about tree planting, we conjure images of organized tree planting activities. That’s one. The other one is planting trees in our own backyard.
Several studies have shown that house and lot properties with fully grown trees in the backyard have a higher resale value. Compared with properties with no foliage or trees whatsoever, their values are 15% higher. And that’s just a conservative estimate. It must be the ‘curb appeal’ of the property as trees and plants beautify the surroundings.
When we have trees in our backyards also, there is an ever-changing landscape. The lush green leaves warm the heart of the onlookers. The same is true when vibrant hues of leaves started to fall. There is something so organically divine with ground full of dried leaves and woods.
Additionally, when trees surround the residential property, they offer privacy. Some buyers are also keen on this aspect. In this sense, trees act as boundaries, defining the space allotted for each property.
Looking at it from a different perspective, homebuyers of today are eco champions. They consider the ethics of their purchases, including big-ticket purchases like property. One of the considerations is reducing the carbon footprint of the entire property. House and lots with trees can do just that.
Within the community, trees enhance the architectural value of the place. Perhaps, this is the reason why some developers work with the natural landscape when developing properties.
From the household to the neighborhood, trees also help in abating noises. This is extremely important if living in the city, more so near the airport.
For this to be effective, the neighborhood association must plan tree placements more strategically. Communities are encouraged to plant trees on the eastern and western sides of the home. It is not advisable to plant ornamental trees beneath power lines. They don’t accentuate the views.
When there’s serenity around us, communicating with others tends to be easier. It’s a different joy when one joins tree planting projects—it’s the sense of community that works here. We jog, bike, walk, and bird watch together.
When there are pocket parks, gardens, and mini forests in the neighborhood at the other end of the spectrum, mingling becomes second nature. We spend quality time together while also encouraging pride when we help cultivate the land, plant trees and nurture them. It’s a whole new level of sense of pride.
Children also benefit from having these green spaces. They may develop a sense of adventure while exploring these areas. That’s aside from providing children with a space to play and just be kids.
Studies also discovered that neighborhoods with green spaces have lower crime rate levels. More trees mean reduced aggression and violence while also supporting community ties. It has something to do with the calming effect, allowing us to think and act more appropriately.
Trees live a hundred years; they outlive humans. And yes, we can give them as gifts.
It may not necessarily be the tree as it is, but how it can be instrumental in our fight against environmental degradation—that we did everything we could to protect nature so they can enjoy nature too. Trees symbolize our commitment to nature.
One more thing, trees happen to be involved in creating memories, whether that’s planting together as a family or having a picnic beside a century-old tree on the farm. We cherish those memories as a kid, and it’s only right to let our kids experience the joy of those moments too.
With all the benefits mentioned above, it’s not surprising how trees contribute to the dwellers’ quality of life. The natural elements alone around us alter the environment that makes the place more livable.
The benefits may be different between a newly planted tree and a mature tree. The bottom line is we can all maximize the benefits if we start to plant more trees now.
In highly urbanized cities in the Philippines, planting trees is one of the surest ways to make the place more sustainable. It is more for the people than for the place itself.
The importance of trees extends far beyond their beauty. Trees are an essential part of the world we live in. They are also crucial for our survival. Humans and flora and fauna depend on trees for survival. So we must do our part to stop deforestation.
We should be giving back instead by planting more trees. Such an action can repair the damaged ecosystem and restore lost forests.
Being aware of the benefits is just as important as taking action. Let’s get our tree on!